The usually debonair Robert Montgomery stepped out of character in this classic comic fantasy to play a clean-cut boxer, Joe Pendleton, who's been sent to heaven before his time. Mr. Jordan, a kind of celestial executive, rectifies the error by loaning Pendleton the body of a millionaire named Bruce Farnsworth who's just been murdered by his wife. When she learns that he's alive again, the fun begins. The kind of beautifully executed film that turns the auteur theory on its head, it's driven by a script that always manages to keep its fiendishly complicated farcical maneuvers in perfect focus. Montgomery is wonderful as the simple boxer who just wants a shot at the title, as is Claude Rains as the dryly sardonic angel. But it's veteran James Gleason's Academy Award-winning performance as Joe's manager Max Corkle that steals the film. The scene in which Joe finally convinces Max that his spirit is inhabiting the body of Farnsworth is a masterpiece of comic acting. Although the film was remade twice, by Warren Beatty as Heaven Can Wait and Chris Rock as Down to Earth, this is the kind of film that they really don't make anymore.
by Michael Costello review