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Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Selection for the Weekend of
March 2 - 4, 2001

How many stories are out there to write? How much originality exists in the real world? So, every once in a while (OK, maybe alot), producers, directors, writers and stars reach back into the vault and decide to remake a classic. Many of you have probably seen Down To Earth with Chris Rock, which is a remake of Heaven Can Wait starring Warren Beatty, which is a remake of this week's WaffleMovies.com selection, Here Comes Mr. Jordan (which was based on the play Heaven Can Wait).

Robert Montgomery (the father of Bewitched's Elizabeth Montgomery) stars as Joe Pendleton, and up-and coming-boxer in line for a title shot. He's in the best shape of his life and only needs to win one more fight to get a match with the champion. After training in New Jersey, Joe decides to fly up to New York, but he encounters trouble.

Joe's plane crashes and he is transported to heaven, where he meets Mr. Jordan (Claude Raines) an angelic bureaucrat, who discovers that it wasn't Joe's time to die. A mistake has been made, and everyone on Earth is supposed to fulfill his destiny, so Mr. Jordan decides to offer Joe a second chance. He puts Joe in the body of Mr. Bruce Farnsworth. However, Farnsworth faces some big troubles.

Will Joe be able to set things straight? Can he deal with his new life, or will his old one come calling?

Columbia originally didn't want to make the film, but writer Sidney Buchman appealed to studio president Harry Cohn. While the film was highly original (a fantasy/comedy/drama at a time when most films fell into a specific category) and scared the financial advisors for Columbia, Cohn felt daring. In the end, the gamble paid off as Here Comes Mr. Jordan yielded Oscar nominations for Best Actor (Montgomery), Best Picture, Best Story, Best Screenplay and 3 others. Also, it spawned several similar films like A Guy Named Joe.

While Montgomery won the Best Actor nod, Raines, in my opinion, put in a better performance. Who knows how an angel is supposed to act? Well, that was the challenge facing Raines as he created a character who has charm and heart. He controls each scene with a regal flair that endears him to the audience.

I think you'll find this one entertaining and uplifting. Also, look for a surprise appearance by then-unknown actor Lloyd Bridges!

Grade: A-

Directed by Alexander Hall

Written by Sidney Buchman and Seton Miller

Based on the play Heaven Can Wait by Harry Segall


Robert Montgomery ..... Joe Pendleton

Evelyn Keyes ..………..Bette Logan

Claude Rains ..……….. Mr. Jordan

Rita Johnson ..………..  Julia Farnsworth

James Gleason ..……… Max Corkle

Copyright 2001 - WaffleMovies.com