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Heaven Can Wait (1943)

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Release Date: Aug 11, 1943 Wide

audience

76

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 4,250

My Rating

Movie Info

On the day of his death in 1943, the spirit of Henry Van Cleave (Don Ameche) obligingly heads for the place where so many people had previously told him to go. The immaculately dressed septuagenarian arrives at the outer offices of Hades, where he is greeted by His Excellency (Laird Cregar), the most courteous and gentlemanly Satan in screen history. His Excellency doubts that Van Cleave has sinned enough to qualify for entrance into Hades, but Henry insists that he's led the most wicked of

Jun 14, 2005

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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All Critics (15) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (1) | DVD (6)

Scripted by Raphaelson, the helmer's frequent collaborator, this light, suave comedy of manners (his first in color) displays what's known as the Lubitsch touch and would have been more successful with a more charismatic actor than Don Ameche.

July 26, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Elegant, ironic Lubitsch gem.

July 14, 2006
Las Vegas Review-Journal

The charming period piece has more depth in its cheerful depiction of death and breezy satire on society mores than what might be apparent.

July 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

too little to make up for the emptiness that lies at the core of the film's conceit

June 19, 2005 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

The Lubitsch Touch is clearly here. Colorful, tongue firmly in cheek comedy-fantasy.

October 15, 2004

Late in the day Lubitsch, but a great one.

January 9, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Heaven Can Wait

Not the predecessor of the Warren Beatty vehicle of the seventies, Heaven Can Wait is a sweet comedy that follows the life of philandering playboy Henry Van Cleve, as he drifts through the phases of his life, narrating along the way. There are certainly parts that are either aged by the particular brand of humor, and others that are plain tiresome, but when the film deals with the early years of Henry's life it's all too angelic to watch. There is some very dark humor as well, especially concerning the devil's role in the film, which is less of a creepy creature and more of a slick businessman talking over a merger. As the film follows the personal timeline of Ameche, his ease and charm filter through every bit of his performance. We never truly grasp the sentimentality of his relationships with his parents, wife, or son, but all the constructs are present, and therefore the performance comes through as a genuine article. Still, Ameche's transformation from elegant Casanova to settled bumpkin is unsettling and the subsequent storyline concerning his son's reputation is both unnecessary and uninspired. Gene Tierney manages to reclaim much of the spotlight as an aged wife to Ameche, pulling focus with her gleaming sapphire eyes and empire waist. Though their chemistry is subtle, it's also very tender. When speaking about her to Satan, Henry has left his ways and is now a morose old man, hoping for a second chance and a good natured heart to guide him back to his wife. Touching overall.
September 2, 2011
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

Don Ameche is subtle but superb as Henry Van Cleve, the trust-fund Casanova who feels compelled to recount his life story to Satan at the gates of hell.
April 29, 2011
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

The original Heaven Can Wait. If you've seen the remakes, I recommend taking a look at this one.
October 13, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

utterly charming. gene tierney has the cutest overbite in pictures
July 20, 2009
rubystevens
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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  • Heaven Can Wait (1943) (UK)
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