Heaven Can Wait

Heaven Can Wait

DVD - 2005
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Upon his arrival in hell, an aged playboy's life is rejudged by the prince of darkness.
Audience: OFA rating: PG.
Publisher: New York : Criterion Collection, 2005.
Branch Call Number: DVD FIC Heave
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (112 min.) : digital, sound, colour ; 12 cm + 1 folded sheet (18 cm).
Language Note: Closed captioned for the hearing impaired.

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akirakato
Aug 06, 2013

This is a 1943 American comedy produced and directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
An aged Henry van Cleve enters the opulent reception area of Hell, to be personally greeted by "His Excellency Satan."
Satan now checks his qualifications.
To prove his worthiness (or rather unworthiness), Henry begins to tell the story of his dissolute life.
Henry grows up an idle young man, with a taste for attractive showgirls.
One day, Henry overhears a beautiful woman lying to her mother on a public telephone.
Intrigued, he follows her into a bookstore and pretends to be an employee to get to know her better.
Despite learning that she is engaged, he begins making advances, finally confessing he does not work there, whereupon she hastily departs.
Later, obnoxious cousin Albert introduces the family to his fiancee, Martha and her feuding parents.
Henry is shocked to find that his mystery woman and Martha are one and the same.
It turns out that Albert was the first suitor of whom both her parents approved.
Fearful of spending the rest of her life as a spinster in Kansas City, Martha agreed to marry him.
Henry convinces her to elope with him instead.
Later, Henry and Martha become the proud parents of a boy.
On the eve of their tenth anniversary, however, Martha finds out about Henry's continuing dalliances with other women and goes back to her parents.
Henry begs her forgiveness and talks her into "eloping" a second time.
Fifteen years later, Henry meets a chorus girl (Helene Reynolds) in her dressing room shortly before her performance.
What begins as a courtship is soon revealed as an attempt by Henry to turn her away from his son, who has been dating her.
When she reveals her knowledge of his true identity, Henry buys her off instead for $25,000.
Martha passes away shortly after their twenty-fifth anniversary.
Henry resumes an active social life much to the bemusement of his son.
On the day after his 70th birthday, Henry dies under the care of a beautiful nurse, having portended her coming in a dream.
After hearing Henry's story, His Excellency denies him entry and suggests he try the "other place", where Martha and his grandfather are waiting for him, hinting that there might be "a small room vacant in the annex".
It is amazing that Henry acts through all those years seamlessly well.
Henry doesn't seem to me a playboy at all, and he rather looks like a sensible man.
Satan might have sensed it.
That's the reason, I suppose, Satan doesn't send Henry down to the hell as the fat old woman fell down through the hidden hole on the floor at the beginning.

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