Heaven Can Wait (1943)

2015 #198
Ernst Lubitsch | 108 mins | TV | 4:3 | USA / English | U

My first experience of Lubitsch’s US output concerns a man who arrives on Hell’s doorstep and reflects on his life to explain why he’s there.

It starts brilliantly: the bookend scenes are excellent, and the early parts of the plot are buoyed by consistent wit and enjoyable characters, particularly Charles Coburn as a slyly raucous grandfather. As it heads into its second half, it loses momentum and focus, the most entertaining characters disappear, and it takes its time plodding to a finale.

An enjoyable film with a lot of amusement value, just a little too long for its own good.

4 out of 5

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