Here Comes Mr. Jordan, based on “Heaven Can Wait” by Harry Segall
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
Here Comes Mr. Jordan is a good comedy.
The New York Times’ Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made List has it in its ranks:
Nevertheless, I was not exactly enchanted.
It is in part because I was not just familiar with the subject, but happened to see Heaven Can Wait too recently.
Maybe this version is better than the Warren Beatty adaptation.
But I am not sure.
Then the subject matter is also, if not precarious, at least a bit exaggerated.
Yes, it is a humorous take on death and after life, but seeing the two different versions of the same story did not thrill me.
Surely I am wrong.
The film won two Academy Awards and it was competing with…Citizen Kane.
But Here Comes Mr. Jordan won two Academy Awards for writing- the categories were different back then.
And it was nominated also for Best Picture, Best Actor in both Leading and Supporting Roles and Best Director.
Joe Pendleton is a boxer in this version, whereas in the modern take Warren Beatty has the role of a professional football player.
He is well on the way to the highest achievement of his career and he expects to become champion very soon.
But he flies in an airplane that seems very insecure at this time and he is playing his saxophone while piloting…
So the plane crashes and the next thing we know is that Joe has a heated argument with a man that we soon learn is not really a human…
The Heavenly Messenger has made a mistake and took the boxer’s soul fifty years too soon, because he is new in his job.
When they check the list, they understand the predicament which was also caused by the compassion of the Messenger.
- Here Comes Mr. Jordan and he is played by Claude Rains
Mr. Jordan appears to be a supervisor and tries to repair the mistake made, even if it would be rather difficult.
The first solution- and I thought it really silly- was to get the body back and put the soul in, returning Joe to his former “self”.
But the corpse had been cremated and with this solutions that give opportunity to comedy have to be found.
This is where I thought credibility went out the window.
If they have the power to reinsert souls into bodies, the mere construction of a flesh and bone entity is mere children’s game.
- Don’t you think so?
Looking around for people that are about to die, they find this rich SOB, whose wife is planning to murder him.
Joe the boxer is not keen on the arrangement- which I repeat-seems preposterous given the status of Heavenly Messengers, Supervisors and all-until the beautiful Better Logan enters the stage with a serious issue.
Marx Corkle is the manager and trainer of the boxer and he has some good moments, but overall I was not mesmerized.
Although the prospect of Heaven, which I do not believe in at the moment, seems rather enticing, if it does exist.
And of course, we can reach it, even those of us who beat people- like the boxer- or do other sinful things…