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Heaven Can Wait (1943)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy | 13 August 1943 (USA)
An old roué arrives in Hades to review his life with Satan, who will rule on his eligibility to enter the Underworld.

Director:

Ernst Lubitsch

Writers:

Samson Raphaelson (screenplay), Leslie Bush-Fekete (play) (as Lazlo Bus-Fekete)
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gene Tierney ... Martha Strabel Van Cleve
Don Ameche ... Henry Van Cleve
Charles Coburn ... Hugo Van Cleve
Marjorie Main ... Mrs. Strabel
Laird Cregar ... His Excellency
Spring Byington ... Bertha Van Cleve
Allyn Joslyn ... Albert Van Cleve
Eugene Pallette ... E.F. Strabel
Signe Hasso ... Mademoiselle
Louis Calhern ... Randolph Van Cleve
Helene Reynolds ... Peggy Nash
Aubrey Mather ... James
Tod Andrews ... Jack Van Cleve (as Michael Ames)
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Storyline

Henry Van Cleve presents himself at the gates of Hell only to find he is closely vetted on his qualifications for entry. Surprised there is any question on his suitability, he recounts his lively life and the women he has known from his mother onwards, but mainly concentrating on his happy but sometimes difficult twenty-five years of marriage to Martha. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He believed in Love . . . Honor . . . and Obey - That Impulse! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Randolph Van Cleve was born in 1844. See more »

Goofs

When Henry first notices Martha in the department store at the telephones, a shadow of the camera rig falls across Martha as the scene and camera slides from right to left across the partition between the telephones. See more »

Quotes

Hugo Van Cleve: She was packed by E.F. Strabel / To be served at Albert's table / But that Henry changed the label. Now that's poetry!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Super Tramp (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Hello! Ma Baby
(uncredited)
Music by Joseph E. Howard
Played when Edna reminds Henry of the little brownstone house
See more »

User Reviews

 
Any other director would destroy this.
3 October 2008 | by bobsgrockSee all my reviews

Ernst Lubitsch, the great European director who immigrated to America and changed movies for the better shows his true light touch in this very original yet very charming story about one man's life and the changes and problems he faces. Don Ameche is perfect as the lead character, Henry Van Cleeves, a man spoiled rotten as a child but grows up and learns many things, mostly from his beautiful wife Martha, played by Gene Tiereny. However, the best role goes to Charles Coburn who plays the rough, frank, outspoken yet lovable grandfather who sympathizes with Henry and strives to make his life better.

The kind of material here could have been used to make an epic story on the level of films like Gone With the Wind or Giant. Nevertheless, we see Henry's life in full motion, always moving ahead even when he is helpless to stop it. And Lubitsch's touch has never been more prominent, taking some scenes any other director would have made disturbing or unsettling and giving them a witty and comical feeling. It's a shame Lubitsch died so early or else we could have gotten more of these classic and moving stories.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

13 August 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Heaven Can Wait See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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