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Heaven Can Wait Photos

Movie Info

Spoiled playboy Henry van Cleve (Don Ameche) dies and arrives at the entrance to Hell, a final destination he is sure he deserves after living a life of profligacy. The devil (Laird Cregar), however, isn't so sure Henry meets Hell's standards. Convinced he is where he belongs, Henry recounts his life's deeds, both good and bad, including an act of indiscretion during his 25-year marriage to his wife, Martha (Gene Tierney), with the hope that "His Excellency" will arrive at the proper judgment.

Cast & Crew

Don Ameche
Henry Van Cleve
Charles Coburn
Hugo Van Cleve
Marjorie Main
Mrs. Strable
Laird Cregar
His Excellency
Spring Byington
Bertha Van Cleve
Allyn Joslyn
Albert Van Cleve
Eugene Pallette
E.F. Strable
Signe Hasso
Mademoiselle
Louis Calhern
Randolph Van Cleve
Tod Andrews
Jack Van Cleve
Leonard Carey
Flogdell (uncredited)
Clarence Muse
Jasper (uncredited)
Dickie Moore
Henry Van Cleve (uncredited)
Dickie Jones
Albert Van Cleve (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for Heaven Can Wait

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Heaven Can Wait

  • Jul 31, 2020
    Cutesy retrospective of the life of a playboy brokering w/Satan about his available options for eternity. Don Ameche is adequate in the part of the playboy in that, for the sake of the picture's direction, his hinted at lechery is downplayed so that his love for his wife overcomes. Gene Tierney thanklessly plays the long suffering wife. The outcome, this being a 1943 Hollywood production, is never really in doubt, the puppeteer's strings always in sight and perhaps part of the old world charm of the thing.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 09, 2013
    In the spirit of Here Comes Mr. Jordan is the story of a man who attempts to set things right from beyond the grave. Unlike the sequel, it is a classic.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 26, 2012
    Mildly amusing, occasionally comedic, Heaven Can Wait goes as far as it can go considering it's 1943 lineage, but should go a whole lot farther. Why does one man think he deserves to go to hell instead of heaven? Nothing in the flashbacks (the entirety of the film) suggest he was a bad person deserving of eternal damnation. Maybe a '40s audience saw something different in the story? Nevertheless, the trappings of the film are beyond reproach, from the sets to the acting to the costumes. Laird Cregar brings a devilish fun to his role which bookends the movie while Don Ameche feels like a belittled man who believes he is a terrible soul. What is the point, though? To remind the audience they hold themselves to too high of standards? To do what they want to do, but not be too bad, and they can get into heaven? Or to not listen to the people around them and let the chips fall where they may?
    Jason V Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2011
    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.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer

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