Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Here Comes Mr Jordan (1941)

I’m guessing that even if you haven’t seen the this film you’ve seen one of the remakes, official (Heaven Can Wait or Down to Earth with Chris Rock) or unofficial.

The plot of the film has boxer Joe Pendleton, being killed. As he heads to heaven it’s discovered that he was taken out too soon, he wasn’t supposed to die and that he has unfinished business to attend to. Since his body has been cremated Pendleton, with the help of angelic Mr Jordan  is put into the body of rich recently murdered Mr Farnsworth until a suitable body is found, however complications such as romance and a still murderous  wife arise.

Back when I was a wee lad I saw and fell in love with the Warren Beatty remake Heaven Can Wait. I would watch it over and over again on cable TV. I thought it was great. Then at some point I stumbled on the original and became completely enraptured. Here was everything that I loved in the remake but done better.

I think there are two reasons I think I love the film so much, first the film has a sense that everyone is accepting of what is happening. What I mean is that everyone is playing it straight. There is no sense that anyone is acting or doesn’t believe that the story could happen. The trouble with Heaven Can Wait is there is a sense that everyone is somehow above the material. This isn’t to sell Beatty’s film short, it’s just that when you compare say James Mason and Buck Henry to Claude Raines and Edward Everett Horton you notice a sense of disdain. Mason and especially Henry are too distant.

The other reason I love the film is simply the cast. Robert Montgomery makes big lug Joe Pendleton utterly charming. James Gleason is his typical wonderful self as Max Corkle Pendleton’s friend. And there is Raines and Horton who are so good they made a sequel with the characters (called Down to Earth)

I really love this film a great deal. It's one of those films I'll dig out when I'm in a funk and watch it.just because it makes me happy. 

If you have never seen this film make an effort to do so, and if you have, see it again.

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