Monday, April 30, 2007

April 30th Log

1943, Ernst Lubitsch, United States

Repeat Viewing, DVD

Heaven Can Wait is the first film Ernst Lubitsch made in color. Released in 1943 it is perhaps his last great film. Heaven Can Wait is unusual of the quintessential Lubitsch films of the early 1930s, late 1920s in that it was made under studio and production code rules. It is a unique film both of its time and of Lubitsch, yet his trademark “Lubitsch touch” fully emerges and ultimately this becomes one of his defining masterworks. Made with such a light and simplistic touch, Heaven Can Wait is a film full of expressive details, witty humor, and undercurrent depth. Telling the story of a ladies man (played by Don Ameche), who ponders upon his life with the devil in the afterlife. Heaven Can Wait is a film about death, and is a reflection of society, life, and love and family, yet above all is a celebration of spirituality and of humanity in all of its flaws, its grace, and its beauty. Using colors and set designs, as well as period details expressively Heaven Can Wait is gorgeously shot with the look and feel of a dream. Don Ameche seems just right in here as the spoiled disobedient ladies man who is often acting younger then his age and is always under the control of a woman (even if he appears to be the smooth-talking Casanova). Gene Tierney plays his beautiful (that always goes without saying with her!) wife who has a far better grasp of the world. The supporting roles are just as fitting and memorable (by Charles Coburn, Marjorie Main, Spring Byington, Signe Hasso, Allyn Joslyn, Eugene Pallette, and Laird Cregar as the devil). Heaven Can Wait is a film ahead of its time by an influential filmmaker who was ahead of his time. The depth of his vision is not easy to fully grasp as lightly and playfully as the tone of his films would suggest. Heaven Can Wait may not be the very greatest and most quintessential Lubitsch achievement, but somehow it is one of his most perfect and essential films. Elegant, witty, funny, charming, romance and equally light and dark, Heaven Can Wait is a beautiful film.


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