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In a sub-plot paralleling The Shop Around the Corner (1940) and revisited in You've Got Mail (1998), Julie Christie plays an English woman outraged that one of the former millionaire's companies is destroying her village, while simultaneously falling in love with the man now occupying the hated millionaire's mortal coil. Much comic and romantic misunderstanding follows, as well as some appealing slapstick, courtesy of Dyan Cannon. Aided by a lovely musical score by Dave Grusin, this is a beautifully played and thoroughly charming bittersweet fantasy about the transcendent power of love. It is a joy for romantics everywhere.
On the DVD: Heaven Can Wait comes to DVD in a good 1.77:1 ratio transfer which exhibits just a little grain in some darker scenes. The print shows some very minor, occasional damage, but nothing to complain about in a film of this vintage. The sound is the original mono mix, which is perfectly serviceable. The only extra is the theatrical trailer. --Gary S Dalkin
Now they must find him a new body because his old one had been cremated. Not finding an ideal match. He settles for a temporary, Leo Farnsworth; he is ambivalent at first until he meets a girl Betty Logan (Julie Christie) he wants to help. He also want's to get this body in shape for the Superbowl. The fun begins when he has to learn to be Farnsworth, his wife (Dyan Cannon,) and male secretary (Charles Grodin) “lovers” what to kill him.
Will they kill him?
Or will he make the Superbowl?
And what becomes of Betty?
This is based, and I must say much improved on a movie called “Here comes Mr. Jordon” from a play by Harry Segall. Jack Warden plays Joe’s friend Max Corkle that ties all the Joe incarnations together.
I honestly don't like Warren Beatty or Julie Christie as actors, but this tears me up. The supporting characters are some of the best written and funniest perfrmances of all time. Charles Grodin is brilliant and he and Dianne Cannon steal every scene they get.
James Mason is dignified and kind, and his bungling assistant's outrage at the hero's ingratitude for all their hard work finding him a body - to replace the one that the trainee angel accidentally had cremated early - is a sight to see.
But it is the unexpected depth of character that Warren Beatty produces, that he has never equalled again, that pulls it all together. His whispered explanation to his old coach to convince him of who his soul is, even if the body looks different and his helpless attempt to explain to Julie Christie that she should give someone else a chance if anything should happen to him reduce me to tears every time I see it.
Then there's the wonderful cadre of butlers, when the hero is in a cupbaord talking to an angel:
"Why are you taking him two cups of cocoa?"
"Well, I thought as he is pretending to talk to someone - he might like to pretend to give them cocoa too..."
It is all a film should be.