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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)

Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Film: B



Robert Montgomery is Joe Pendleton, a boxer who also likes to fly his airplane.  He has all kinds of energy and talent, but when things go wrong with is plane and it wrecks, he is a goner… or it would seem.  Out of pity and trying to hurry his job up, Messenger 7013 (the great Edward Everett Horton, best known later for his voice over narration on all the Jay Ward TV series like Rocky & Bullwinkle) snatches him out of the plane just before impact.  The body may be smashed, but Joe is unaware at first that somebody “up there” liked him.  This does not sit well for the man (Claude Rains) who runs the gateway to heaven and hell, so Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) to fix the rare error.


Jordan is ready to give Rains a new body as soon as someone else expires and a rich man who is about to fall to a crazy murder plot is the choice.  Joe is interested in still boxing instead of living a longer, healthier life, even when presented with the wealth that would allow him to live comfortably for a long time.  Unfortunately for Jordan, Joe understands living is not just living dead, but being alive.


The Sidney Buchman/Seton I. Miller screenplay adaptation from the Harry Segall book Heaven Can Wait (the title used for the hit Warren Beatty remake, though also used for the 1943 Ernest Lubitsch that did not use this book) is smart and allows the audience to suspend disbelief much more than most later versions of such situations.  The cast is great, including Montgomery at his peak, Rains in classy form Horton a real hoot and Alexander Hall’s smooth directing.  That is Lloyd Bridges as an uncredited pilot and the also-great Benny Rubin as the handler rightly named Bugsy.


Once again, Columbia Pictures proved they could go a few rounds with the majors when they hit the nail on the head and it is impressive the joy, fun, humor and chemistry the film retains keeping it a classic in what has become at least a cycle if not a genre of heavenly humor.  It is also far better.


The 1.33 X 1 image is from a restored print and though the grain of the negative stocks use show, this looks good for its age.  Video Black is nice for standard DVD and the print is clean for its age.  This was shot by the great cinematographer and innovator Joseph Walker, whose approach to black and white shooting is known from all his work in classic by Frank Capra and Howard Hawks screwball comedies and other heavenly tales.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also nice and clean for a simple soundtrack of its time typical of the kind of work Columbia/Sony has been doing to fix its soundtracks.  Sadly, there are no extras.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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