Boxer Joe Pendleton, flying to his next fight, crashes...because a Heavenly Messenger, new on the job, snatched Joe's spirit prematurely from his body. Before the matter can be rectified, Joe's body is cremated; so the celestial Mr. Jordan grants him the use of the body of wealthy Bruce Farnsworth, who's just been murdered by his wife. Joe tries to remake Farnsworth's unworthy life in his own clean-cut image, but then falls in love; and what about that murderous wife?Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
At the opening of the montage of newspaper headlines announcing Farnsworth buying back the stock, stock footage from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is used, with a headline declaring "SMITH LIES, SAYS SENATE". See more »
Boxer Joe Pendleton (Robert Montgomery) is all set to fight to become the Champion. Unfortunately he's in a plane crash and a collector (Edward Everett Horton) "takes" his soul to Heaven. But the collector acted too quickly...Joe WASN'T supposed to die! The Head Collector Mr. Jordan (Claude Rains) gets him the temporary body of Bruce Farnsworth--whose wife and secretary are trying to kill. And he falls in love with Bette Logan (Evelyn Keyes). How long will he be in Farnsworth---and will he want to leave and will he live?
I caught this on TV when I was a kid in the 1970s. I loved it! Soon after I saw the lousy 1978 remake "Heaven Can Wait" with Warren Beatty as Pendleton (he's no Montgomery). I just saw it again and I still love it!
The plot is pretty silly but the whole film is done with a very light touch and the cast pulls it off. Nobody seems to be taking it too seriously (which is good). Montgomery is very good in his role--if a little too over the top at times. Keyes is sweet and charming--she does wonders with the "good girl" role. Horton is very funny as one of the collectors and Rains is just fantastic as Mr. Jordan--a perfectly done performance (no surprise coming from Rains). More screen time with Jordan could have helped. But as it is it's just very good. I'm only giving it an 8--it's funny...but not enough. The jokes made me smile once in a while, but that's about it. A huge hit in it's day.
This (understandably) won two Academy Awards for Best Story and Screenplay. It was nominated for Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Director and Cinematography.
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