Saturday, April 23, 2011

Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Alexander Hall, 1941, bw (8.8*)
A man named Joe, played by Robert Montgomery, is grabbed by an angel just before his assumed death, but in heaven it's discovered that he wasn't due to die yet. So due to their own bureaucratic bungling, they decide to send him back down, only his body is no longer available and he has to get another body. He's a professional boxer, due for a title fight, so he's fairly picky and doesn't want just any old body. The head angel, a Mr. Jordan, or Claude Rains, tells him he can't dawdle around or the big guy may change his mind.

Unfortunately, the best one available is a recent murder victim, as his wife and her lover are trying to get rid of a selfish millionaire and live on his money. The one personality trait Joe maintains is his desire to play the saxophone, but he's not very good at it. This is the classic mix-up of godly proportions, and I guess to be accurate you could call it a 'fish out of his body' tale.

This is the original bw classic using this idea, which was later re-written and remade by Warren Beatty and Buck Henry in 1978 as Heaven Can Wait, which featured Beatty as a football player with a clarinet, Julie Christie, James Mason (as Mr. Jordan) and Charles Grodin and Dyan Cannon as the hilarious would-be murderers.

Winner of 2 Oscars® (Story, screenplay) out of 7 nominations, which included picture, director, cinematography, and two for lead actor.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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