Last night I wanted to see a Classic Movie with my parents. My mom suggested Rebel without a case and my dad said he'd prefer a "light comedy". I haven't seen Rebel... but it's probably very dramatic and I didn't want to see something sad on Friday night, so I decided to pick a comedy.
Well, I remembered that Heaven Can Wait (1943; Ernst Lubitsch) was very good when I saw it like 2 years ago and I wanted to re-watch it. I didn't exactly remember all the events, but I did remember a scene in a bookshop, a cool Devil, a nice grandpa and Gene Tierney and Don Ameche growing old. And because it was directed by Ernst Lubitsch I thought it had to have some funny scenes.
|My mom loved this cross-stitch presentation :)|
Old Don Ameche dies and goes to Hell. But before he enters, he starts chatting about his life with Mr. Devil himself. He remembers his whole life, which was marked since his childhood because he was an incurable Casanova. This fact didn't change when he met the love of his life, Gene Tierney; not even when he grew old. Is this enough to go to Hell? Devil will tell.
This movie has some memorable scenes and characters. I like when Don pretends to be a bookshop salesclerk to talk with Gene. She's about to get married and she's (embarrassedly) looking for a book called How to make your husband happy...
I also love Charles Coburn as the kind grandpa. He's always making funny remarks, supporting his grandson and trying to help him with Gene. Eugene Pallette (I always think of him as Carole Lombard's dad in My Man Godfrey, but he's great in many movies of course) and Marjorie Main were good too as Mr. and Mrs. Strable, Gene's folks from Kansas.
But there's a secondary character that steals the movie and he only has two scenes: Clarence Muse as Japer, the Strable's buttler. Enjoy:
My gosh, the funny papers :)
But there are also things that I don't like. I can't stand the main character as a kid or teenager. I know he is supposed to be a spoiled brat, but the whole thing with Mademoiselle is pretty boring and the actor is over the top, in my opinion. That's why I found myself waiting for Don Ameche to appear ASAP.
The other thing I don't like is some parts of the dialog: at some point it gets very...(opens a dictionary in a new window)...pompous, for example, when Don is explaining what he felt when he met Gene:
Mother...when you saw Father for the first time, did you feel that unmistakable something? Did you feel an electric spark from your head right down to your toes that swept over you like a hurricane and threw you to the ground but you bounced up again and floated over the treetops?
Yeah, pretty poetic, but nobody talks like that and it made poor Don having to accompany the dialog with some facial expressions that were equally over the top.
Don's cousin, the nerd lawyer, is another thing that distracts me, because he's very stereotyped. I hate stereotyped characters.
The final thing I don't like...is Gene's hairstyle when she's old. Is it historically appropriate? Probably. Makes her look like a wagon passed over her head and distracts you all the time? Definitively.
|She also looks like Minnie Mouse.|
Heaven can wait is a memorable movie, nevertheless. I love the way it presents Hell (at least the "reception hall") and the Devil; it has a wonderful cast (if you don't count the kids); great scenes and an entertaining story. My dad liked it, but he said that it wasn't really a light comedy. It dawn on me that older people might experience it different, since it deals with aging, death, etc. And my mom fell asleep (she's a morning lark), so I couldn't tell.
On a side note, watching Gene Tierney is always bittersweet when you know how much this gorgeous woman suffered in real life. Tonight I'm going to watch Biography Channel's Gene Tierney: A shattered portrait on Youtube to see if I find a happy fact in her life that makes me forget the rest. I wish I could get a copy of her Self Portrait.
Well, that's all folks! Hope you have a great weekend.