review for Heaven Can Wait on AllMovie

Heaven Can Wait (1943)
by Brendon Hanley review

Heaven Can Wait was Ernst Lubitsch's last great movie. The enduring classic came at the end of two decades of excellent work, which included such Hollywood masterpieces as Trouble in Paradise, Ninotchka, The Shop Around the Corner and To Be or Not to Be. In this era, the "Lubitsch Touch" became a marketable moniker which characterized his impact on the early sound days of Hollywood. Heaven is typical of the "Touch": it's a perfect blend of sophistication, romance, wit and bittersweet sentiment. The benevolent story reveals Don Ameche's life to be as average as any man's, but Lubitsch's genuine tenderness elevates the tale to the majestic. Ameche and Gene Tierney deliver mature, convincing performances, appropriate to the subject matter. Unfortunately, the film has a low-quality look, common to early Technicolor productions; it would be Lubitsch's first and last film shot entirely in color. Heaven was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Director, and Cinematography, and was a significant influence on director Frank Capra's beloved It's a Wonderful Life.