movie-heaven-wait-review

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movie-heaven-wait-review

HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1978)

When star quarterback Joe Pendleton is nearly killed in a car accident, a zealous angel rushes him to heaven's gate, only to discover that it wasn't his "time."  But with his body cremated, the only option is to find a new body.  Enter a newly murdered millionaire corpse. Taking on his corporeal guise, Joe confuses the alleged perpetrators: his wife and accountant, as he purchases the Rams in hopes of once more quarterbacking them to the Superbowl.

The sparkling cast includes: Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, Jack Warden, Dyan Cannon, Charles Grodin, James Mason, Buck Henry, and Vincent Gardenia.

Directors Warren Beatty and Buck Henry, with "Heaven Can Wait," deliver a nearly perfect fantasy/comedy fable for which they received a best directing nomination.

HEAVEN CAN WAIT was nominated for the Best Picture award.

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review

"A wonderfully heartfelt film, that stands the test of time."

"A touching film that stays with you."

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The basic story involves a professional football player, Joe Pendleton, who's seriously injured in an accident, while bicycling through a tunnel, trying to reach his goal of being in perfect shape. An over eager, novice angel, Buck Henry, takes his soul from his body to spare him pain, before this quarterback is supposed to die. Because his body is cremated, his soul is sent back down to reside temporarily into an out of shape wealthy businessman's body, Leo Farnsworth, who was just murdered. He then buys The Rams, with the plans to again be their quarterback, and lead them to the Super Bowl. Will he be able to before his wife and her lover try again?

Beatty tried VERY hard to lure Cary Grant out of retirement to play the role of heavenly Mr. Jordan. When that failed, he got James Mason, who is superb.

Dyan Cannon, who plays the wife, Julia Farnsworth, of the wealthy businessman, Leo Farnsworth, and Charles Grodin as Leo' s personal secretary, Tony Abbott, whom she is romantically involved with, add much to the storyline as the bad guys. Their reaction of seeing the wealthy businessman alive, (with Beatty is his body), was hysterical. They had tried to poison him the night before. He was technically dead, which was why his body was available for Beatty's soul to inhabit.

The original Leo Farnsworth was a "Scrooge-like mega-rich villain." Imagine the surprise when Joe, a good-natured, kind soul takes over, who has cocoa with the servants, and listens patiently to the complaints of Betty Logan (Julie Christie), and tries to undo the harm caused by the real Leo Farnsworth.

Jack Warden is delightful as Beatty's football coach, Max Corkle. My favorite scene is where Beatty, in the rich guy's body, tries to convince Warden that he's really the dead Rams' quarterback. Warden's range of responses from total denial, to anger, to gradually dawning belief, is a delight to behold. Max then starts to work with Beatty to get the body in shape.

Don't miss the ending! It is a real tear-jerker, so don't be without your Kleenex.

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If you enjoyed HEAVEN CAN WAIT, you may like GHOST, DOWN TO EARTH, HEARTS AND SOULS, ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD, CITY OF ANGLES, and/or HERE COMES MR. JORDAN.