director Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch’s Heaven Can Wait is not the touchstone for the 1970’s Warren Beatty movie. File that under number one misconception that really doesn’t have much to do with anything.
Henry Van Cleave (Don Ameche) is paying Satan a visit, having just died after a long life. He’s sure that he’s due for damnation and gives forth with his life-story, seen through a lens of his romances. His greatest “crime” if you will is stealing Gene Tierney from his cousin and then being a cad to her, and then atoning for it. Of course, by the end, the devil sends him the other direction.
Heaven Can Wait is a totally likable film, but it didn’t quite sweep me off my feet. Ameche is affable, Tierney is lovely, the supporting cast all pros, but it doesn’t have as much verve as, say, Trouble in Paradise (1932), though maybe that is asking a lot. It’s in lovely Technicolor and has its charms. I was frequently aware of the period sexism therein, which was largely flippant and for gags, but maybe runs more deeply in analyzed.
I really need to string several Lubitsch pictures together for some consistency of perception rather than one or two a year at odd times.