Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)

Ok, pay attention - Here Comes Mr. Jordan is based on the play Heaven Can Wait. It was remade with Warren Beatty in 1978 using the title Heaven Can Wait. It was remade again in 2001 with Chris Rock as Down to Earth. BUT Heaven Can Wait from 1943 is a movie with a completely different story. Got it?

In case you're not familiar - an over zealous angel pulls a man from his body before his time. Before they can put him back in his body, he has already been cremated, so the compromise is to give him the body of someone who was about to die anyway. Hilarity ensues.

Back to the 1941 version. This movie was very enjoyable. It has fun with the premise from the beginning but never goes for the cheap laugh. Claude Rains (Casablanca) stars as Mr. Jordan, the angel overseeing that everything goes well for our hero, a boxer who still wants the title shot that had been promised to his now cremated former self.

57 to go...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

America, America (1963)

I was fairly excited about this one when I put it in. It had only recently become available on Netflix and is from director Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire).

For whatever reason, I just couldn't get into it. It has an interesting enough premise. Kazan wrote the story based on his own uncle's dream and struggles to get to America, without which Kazan himself, born in what is now Turkey, would never have come to the US.

It just doesn't seem to work, from Kazan's voice over at the beginning making it seem almost like it will be a documentary to the painful fact that, unfortunately, his uncle's story, while significant and representative of immigrants at large, just isn't interesting enough to justify a 174 minute run-time.

58 to go...