Heaven Can Wait
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I was particularly taken with Julie Christie in the role of Betty Logan, a passionate environmentalist who has taken on a mission to stop industrialist Leo Farnsworth, (Beatty), from destroying a small community in England. Little does she know that Farnsworth died a short time before she met him. Leo's earthly role had been assumed by an unlucky footballer by the name of Joe Pendleton, snatched from life by an overzealous angel during a road accident.
If any of this sounds familiar, you may be remembering the original use of the story in the 1941 film, "Here Comes Mr. Jordan", starring Robert Montgomery. Short of Farnsworth being named Bruce instead of Leo, there is little to distinguish these two versions from one another. Even so, I prefer the 1978 version. It just seems to have more charm, more innocence.
It also has a touch of class, mainly due to the presence of James Mason, in the role of Mr Jordan, who has to step in and try to make thinks right with the prematurely breathless Joe. Joe is understandably miffed at his mistreatment since he and his team were due to play in the superbowl, Joe's one dream. Mr Jordan offers Joe a number of alternative routes back into the mortal realm. Each path involves taking on the life of a soon to be dead person.Read more ›
Beatty is superb. Julie Christie is wonderful. Dyan Cannon hasn't changed at all through the years and is as beautiful now as she was then. The entire cast brings the story of a brand new angel who wanted to "save" Joe from so much pain at his death that he brought him out of his body early. Yes, the angel killed him. This angel's first assignment shows the mistakes any beginner can make, of course the ramifications are larger. Joe would not have been between the crashing cars.
Joe refuses to go to heaven; he wants to be returned to his body -- but it has been cremated. Reviewing many body-replacement opportunities (of those who died, but the death was undiscovered) he ultimately sees Farnsworth. He wasn't that interested in being an out-of shape murder victim, until Julie Christie, who has come to demand that her small town be spared a refining plant that would destroy them, comes to the Farnsworth estate in her regal fury that Joe says, "Yes! I'll be Farnsworth. Temporarily." The screen sizzles with romance (rather than today's explicit scenes) as angel Joe is smitten.
To the delight of audiences, Beatty tries valiantly to be Farnsworth, but finds it impossible because he has a basic good-hearted nature while Farnsworth was more interested in making money. Follies and surprises follow Joe in his new life, but it was temporary and the murderers are still lurking.
I do believe a scene was cut, and perhaps several.Read more ›
Beatty plays Ram's quarterback Joe Pendleton, recovering from a knee injury as he works his way back into a fight for the starting job, then unfortunately rides his bike into a tunnel but doesn't ride out the other end. We soon find out that he was destined to survive the accident, but was "taken out" by practicing angelic entity played by Buck Henry before the laws of probability and outcome could determine Joe's fate. An appeal is issued to management in the form of the magnificent James Mason as Mr.Jordon, who is left with the task of finding Joe a suitable body to make his return to earth in after we find that Joe's body was cremated before we could work out all the red tape at Heaven's departure terminal.
In the very small "What If You Died and Came Back" genre this is hands-down the best of the bunch. Beatty gets credit for bulking up for the role and amazingly has no credibility issues with the casual audience as an aspiring pro QB with eyes on a shot at the Super Bowl. His natural comic timing and comfort zone chemistry with Julie Christy make this film a real keeper. The contributions by deadpan Charles Grodin and the freneticly delicious Dyan Cannon wiil have you howling in laughter.
Now the bad news. Paramount gets no props for this DVD release. The colors are there, but some scenes actually look like they'd been colorized with others blurry, dark, grainy, and out of focus. As if that weren't bad enough, the audio is frequently out of sync...you know, when the spoken words dont match with movements? I found that rather maddening in spots. The sound is OK but there's nothing but dialogue and clarinet music so who cares. Dont look for extras, they're not there.
5 solid stars for the movie, 2 pitiful stars for the DVD.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie isn't anything like the extremely old movie of the same name. I absolutely love it. It is a lot of fun as well as uplifting. Read morePublished 23 hours ago by Mariea Gill
Cheerful, funny, engaging, you won't get tired of watching this..Published 1 month ago by R. V. Riccio
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