Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1941. Columbia Pictures Corporation. Screenplay by Sidney Buchman, Seton I. Miller, based on the play Heaven Can Wait by Harry Segall. Cinematography by Joseph Walker. Produced by Everett Riskin. Music by Friedrich Hollaender. Production Design by Lionel Banks. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Viola Lawrence. Academy Awards 1941.
In this adorable fantasy, a prizefighting boxer is flying his airplane through the skies and, without warning, finds himself in heaven speaking to a celestial bureaucrat (Claude Rains). It seems that an error has been made as soul-collector Edward Everett Horton took Montgomery up on an incorrect impulse, fifty years earlier than he was supposed to go. As his own body is no longer available, Montgomery is placed into the corporeal shell of a billionaire banker who has just been murdered by his scheming wife and secretary. The world is turned on its ear as a selfish money-grubber suddenly becomes a charitable philanthropist, none more charmed than a gorgeous socialite (Evelyn Keyes) whose father was the victim of Montgomery’s new identity’s greed. James Gleason has a delightful supporting role as our hero’s boxing manager whose confusion over the situation drives him nearly batty . This perennial charmer was later remade as Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beatty and Down To Earth with Chris Rock.