7.5/10
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65 user 48 critic

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)
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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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

13 August 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El diablo dijo no 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

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The lead was written with Fredric March or Rex Harrison in mind. Ernst Lubitsch was most disappointed when 20th Century Fox boss Darryl F. Zanuck insisted on casting Don Ameche for commercial reasons. Lubitsch later recanted his opposition to Ameche, won over by the actor's dedication and professionalism. 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

Henry Van Cleve: Suddenly I noticed a very attractive girl coming down the staircase. To me she was just another attractive girl but I must admit - attractive.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Flanders' Ladder (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sheik of Araby
(uncredited)
Music by Ted Snyder
Lyrics by Harry B. Smith and Francis Wheeler
Performed on-stage at the Follies
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not Heavenly, but Worth Waiting For
8 January 2005 | by Mike-764See all my reviews

When Henry Van Cleeve dies, he feels that he only deserves to go to the place downstairs. "His Excellency" tells Henry that hell does not accept any riff-raff and asks what major crime he has committed to gain entry. Henry says that the crime is the way he lived his life, especially the way he treated the women in his life, and more specifically his wife Martha, whose heart he stole from his cousin and had to continually win back on occasions. As Henry tells the story, will the things he has done in his life gain him entrance to eternal damnation. The film doesn't have the smoothness of other Lubitsch films, but the master of the romantic comedy does cast his magic wand giving the film the charm it takes advantage of. Ameche does a good job of underplaying his role by being the charming and suave self that he is in many of his films. Tierney, is also enchanting and beautiful, but seems to be playing off the rest of the cast rather than help herself in that category. Colburn (Grandfather) and Cregar (His Excelleny) are also great in the small roles. Great ending. Rating, 7.


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