Here Comes Mr. Jordan

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Here Comes Mr. Jordan
72HERE20COMESMRJORDANP.jpg
Directed by Alexander Hall
Produced by Everett Riskin
Screenplay by Sidney Buchman
Seton I. Miller
Based on Heaven Can Wait
(1938 play) 
by Harry Segall
Starring Robert Montgomery
Evelyn Keyes
Claude Rains
Rita Johnson
Edward Everett Horton
Music by Friedrich Hollaender
Cinematography Joseph Walker
Edited by Viola Lawrence
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • July 23, 1941 (1941-07-23)
Running time
94 min.
Country United States
Language English

Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) is a romantic comedy-fantasy film in which a boxer, mistakenly taken to Heaven before his time, is given a second chance back on Earth. It stars Robert Montgomery, Claude Rains and Evelyn Keyes. The movie was adapted by Sidney Buchman and Seton I. Miller from the play Heaven Can Wait by Harry Segall. It was directed by Alexander Hall.

It won Academy Awards for Best Writing, Original Story and Best Writing, Screenplay. It was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Robert Montgomery), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (James Gleason), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Director and Best Picture.

Here Comes Mr. Jordan was followed by Down to Earth (1947), in which two of the actors reprised their roles.

It was remade as Heaven Can Wait (1978), and Down to Earth (2001) (sharing the title with the sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan). It was also remade in India as Jhuk Gaya Aasman (1968).

Plot[edit]

Boxer and amateur pilot Joe Pendleton (Robert Montgomery) flies his small plane to his next fight in New York City, but crashes when a control cable severs. His soul is "rescued" by 7013, an officious angel (Edward Everett Horton), who assumed that Joe could not have survived. Joe's manager, Max Corkle (James Gleason), has his body cremated. In the afterlife, the records show his death was a mistake; he was supposed to live for 50 more years. The angel's superior, Mr. Jordan (Claude Rains), confirms this, but since there is no more body, Joe will have to take over a newly dead corpse. Mr. Jordan explains that a body is just something that is worn, like an overcoat; inside, Joe will still be himself. Joe insists that it be someone in good physical shape, because he wants to continue his boxing career. Joe keeps saying the body they find "Has to be in the pink", a color that Mr. Jordan finds annoying. Another annoying fact is that Joe has somehow managed to bring his saxophone with him to heaven; it's his good luck charm, on which he plays "The Last Rose of Summer" very badly.

After Joe turns down several unsuitable "candidates", Mr. Jordan takes him to see the body of a crooked, extremely wealthy banker-investor named Bruce Farnsworth. Farnsworth's wife Julia (Rita Johnson) and his secretary, Tony Abbott (John Emery) have just drugged and drowned him in a bathtub. Joe is reluctant to take over a life so unlike his previous one, but when he sees the murderous pair mockingly berating Miss Logan (Evelyn Keyes), the daughter of a financier who was sold worthless bonds by Farnsworth's bank, he changes his mind and agrees to be inserted into Farnsworth's body. The audience continues to see Montgomery as Pendleton, but everyone in the film, including his wife and secretary (who are astonished to see that the murder was not successful after all), see and hear Farnsworth.

As Farnsworth, Joe reforms. He repays all the investors, including Miss Logan's father. He sends for Corkle and convinces him that he is Joe (by playing his saxophone just as badly as he did in his previous incarnation). With Farnsworth's money to smooth the way, Corkle trains him and arranges a bout with the current heavyweight champion, but Mr. Jordan returns to warn Joe that, while he is destined to be the new champion, it cannot happen that way. Joe has just enough time to warn Miss Logan, with whom he's fallen in love, to look for him in another body, most likely a boxer, before he is shot by his secretary. The body is concealed and Joe returns to a ghostly existence.

Accompanied by Mr. Jordan, Joe finds that his replacement in the prizefight with the champ is a clean-cut, honest fighter named Murdoch, whom Joe knows and respects. Finding that he has forgotten his lucky saxophone, Joe runs back to the Farnsworth mansion to find that everyone believes Farnsworth has "disappeared." Corkle has hired a private investigator to find him. The usually down-to-earth Corkle openly explains about Joe, Mr. Jordan and the body-switching, sounding like a Spiritualist (or, as the detective thinks, a nut). Joe manages to mentally nudge Corkle to turn on the radio to the prizefight, and hears that Murdoch has collapsed without even being touched. Mr. Jordan reveals that the boxer was shot by gamblers because he refused to throw the fight. Joe takes over Murdoch's body and wins the fight. Back at the mansion, Corkle hears one of the radio announcers mention a saxophone hanging by the ringside and realizes Joe has assumed Murdoch's body.

Corkle races down to the dressing room. There, Joe passes along information from Mr. Jordan that Farnsworth's body is in a refrigerator in the basement of the mansion. Corkle tells the detective (Donald MacBride), who promptly has Mrs. Farnsworth and the secretary arrested. As Murdoch, Joe fires his old, crooked manager and hires Corkle. Mr. Jordan reveals to Joe that this is his destiny; he can be Murdoch and live his life.

Healing the gunshot wound and at the same time removing Joe's memory of his past life, Mr. Jordan hangs around for a bit longer until Miss Logan arrives. She wanted to see Corkle, but runs into Murdoch instead. The pair feel they have met before. The two go off together, while Mr. Jordan smiles over another job well done and says "So Long, Champ".

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

The film was nominated for AFI's Top 10 Fantasy Films list.[1]

References[edit]

External links[edit]