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  • mermatt18 February 2001
    This story has made it to the screen three times so far -- HERE COMES MR. JORDAN with Robert Montgomery, HEAVEN CAN WAIT with Warren Beatty, and DOWN TO EARTH with Chris Rock. This one is the best of the three with Claude Rains stealing all his scenes -- a knack he had in most of his films. The movie deals with premature death, reincarnation, murder, and other serious topics, but all of it is handled with a charmingly light touch. This is a delightful classic.
  • For his second of two Oscar nominations Robert Montgomery was loaned to Columbia Pictures for Here Comes Mr. Jordan, a very charming fantasy about a man who fulfills his destiny in many different ways in many different bodies.

    I'm not sure how theologically sound this is, but apparently they make mistakes in heaven. Of course when you've got a new heavenly retriever on the job like Edward Everett Horton anything is possible.

    He snatches prize fighter Robert Montgomery from a private plane that's about to crash. Only problem is that Montgomery wasn't supposed to die in the crash. What to do, send for Claude Rains in the title role as the heavenly fixer, Mr. Jordan.

    Montgomery goes through two different bodies after that in an effort to give him the life span that the heavenly records are supposed to have for him. In one of those guises he meets Evelyn Keyes for whom he falls big time and she him. Of course there's a problem because Montgomery is a millionaire, married to Rita Johnson who with his private secretary, John Emery is trying to kill him.

    Through all of this lending his confused elfin charm is James Gleason as Montgomery's fight manager. Seems as though Gleason had a destiny also, to manage a heavyweight champion. Gleason got his career role in Here Comes Mr. Jordan as he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor, but lost to Donald Crisp for How Green Was My Valley. The film itself was Columbia's entry in the Best Picture category, but also lost to How Green Was My Valley.

    This was Robert Montgomery's second Oscar nomination and the movie going public accepted him as good natured, saxophone playing pug Joe Pendleton a lot better than the homicidal maniac in Night Must Fall his first and other Oscar nomination. This time Montgomery lost to Gary Cooper in Sergeant York.

    My favorite in this film however is the wise and patient Claude Rains as Mr. Jordan. One thing the film does do is that the end will have you wondering whether the whole thing really was Montgomery's destiny. Some of Rains's expressions will keep you guessing.
  • This movie is my favorite film because of the comic and dramatic acting. Robert Montgomery is able to switch between Farnsworth and Joe Pendelton in a split second When he switches to Murdoch, you have a slight difference in speech and walk between Murdoch and Joe. The James Gleason scene in the gym with Montgomery is perfection. I love Claude Rains facial expressions and Edward Everett Horton's bumbling. The dectective's line (I believe he is William McBride, a great comic actor of the 1940's), "Where's the body" is one that I use as a joke with my husband often. The remakes of this film don't come close to the original. "Down to Earth", the one with Chris Rock, was just terrible. This plot has been borrowed often. It is the first film that every dealt with this subject and will remain a classic forever.
  • blanche-229 December 2006
    "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" stars Robert Montgomery as Joe Pendleton, a prize fighter who, hurtling toward earth in his damaged plane, is taken to heaven prematurely by a new heavenly worker (Edward Everett Horton). Upon reaching the gates, it appears that the book states that Joe isn't scheduled to head skyward until 1991. An attempt to return his spirit to his body fails since Joe was cremated; Joe ends up in the body of a business tycoon, Farnsworth, just drowned by his wife and male secretary, except Farnsworth is suddenly not dead. Joe as Farnsworth meets Bette (Evelyn Keyes) and falls in love with her while wreaking havoc with the man's money and business and continuing to aggravate his wife and secretary. Then Mr. Jordan comes to him with some really bad news.

    This is a delightful movie, and though "Heaven Can Wait," its '70s remake, was very enjoyable, how could it be as good or better when Claude Rains and Robert Montgomery are in the original? Montgomery, who for years did light comedy as an elegant leading man, is wonderful as a streetwise prizefighter. James Gleason, as Joe's manager Corkle, has some great comic moments when he meets up with Farnsworth and Farnsworth claims to be the dead Joe. Evelyn Keyes is lovely in the ingénue role, and Rita Johnson makes an excellent murderous wife. Claude Rains played the devil in another film, and as Mr. Jordan apparently works with the Head Honcho on the other side. He exudes warmth and calmness and performs beautifully opposite the more volatile Montgomery characters.

    This film was released before Pearl Harbor, but everyone knew the U.S. would be entering the war. Thus began a spate of these films - "A Guy Named Joe," "Heaven Can Wait," "The Bishop's Wife," "Angel on my Shoulder," "It's a Wonderful Life," "Down to Earth," and others. The fascination with death, angels, destiny, and souls was understandably rampant as reflected by Hollywood from 1941-1948 as people sought to understand what happened to their loved ones.

    "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" is one of the really fine examples of this genre, with beautiful performances and story. I shed some tears at the end. Perhaps you will too.
  • I was watching it, randomly switching channels.

    Opening scene is this introduction, that you read and it came across as a serious balls-to-the-wall drama. It gained my curiosity as to what kind of movie could be taking itself THIS seriously! Next scene is Montgomery boxing, playing a sax, and flying an airplane. It was funny, the banter was excellent, and I was laughing out loud.

    10 mins later he dies!

    The movie had so many 180' turns in it, but they all flow and keeps the viewers on their toes, at least it did me. I literally cried at times, and then the next scene had me hurting with laughter. The supporting cast, especially; Edward Everett Horton, James Gleason, and Evelyn Keyes were magnificent! This has now become one of my favorite movies! I give it a 9/10.
  • jotix10026 December 2003
    Hollywood would probably be better off in looking to its past than at its future. The late 30s and early 40s produced a string of films that will not be equaled, or surpassed in a very foreseeable future.

    Take this film. It has been re-adapted a couple of times and sadly to say, those new movies pale in comparison. There are no stars with the caliber of a Robert Montgomery, Claude Rains, Edward Everett Horton, or Evelyn Keyes, actually, or in the horizon. To get actors of this caliber in a film today, would be a monumental task to accomplish.

    This film, an adaptation of a stage work, translates to the screen with such ease that is hard to surpass. Directed by Alexander Hall, with panache, is a pleasure to sit through it and enjoy.

    The cast is absolutely flawless. The great Robert Montgomery is very charming in his triple 're-incarnation'. Claude Rains is perfect, as is Edward Everett Horton as heavenly figures on earth. Evelyn Keyes is so beautiful. How about Rita Johnson? She cuts such a sophisticated figure. John Emery is oily enough as the evil secretary Abbott. And James Gleason's appearance has the right amount of know how and bewilderment in understanding the situation.

    This picture makes us realize how ahead of her time the brilliant Edith Head was. Her costumes are a perfect touch to enhance the appearance of the stars of that era. Wow! What style and sophistication she had! No one can come close to her.

    This is an original to be savored by discerning film aficionados.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Even today, 70+ years after this film was made, with this reviewer (having seen it maybe a dozen time) now in his dotage, I will still occasionally bump into another cinephile, no matter male or female, who will recall this film for that one unforgettable scene where Montgomery's character, Joe Pendelton, finally gets a replacement body that suits him, and his angel (played by Claude Rains) gives him a merry sendoff by removing the memory of everything that happened in the film before that. To balance the cosmos, so to speak. Unfortunately, this also removed his memory of a girl he'd met in an earlier body (one that did not work out) so it seems that now, the course of true love is thwarted. But is it? In a long corridor inside the stadium where Montgomery's character, in his last (and final) body, has just finished a prize fight, as Montgomery passes by the girl he once was in love with (ie, in another body before his memory was diddled with); and the girl, convinced the man she'd loved (ie, Montgomery in an earlier body) was dead, passes him going the other way. Of course she does not recognize him (new body, new name); and he does not recognize her (aforesaid angelic diddling). But as they pass as strangers, the lights in the corridor momentarily go out. And when the lights come back on, each stops, aware that just for a moment, in the dark, they recognized something about the other that was not obvious to the eye. And then the girl suggests that maybe they should go have a coffee and talk about the experience. And I swear I get misty-eyed just writing about this scene, that's how powerful it is, and I promise you that none of the 700 remakes has captured it properly. In fact, the tears are welling up so fast I am going to have to go out and shoot a deer just to remind myself what a manly man I am. Oh, in case I forgot, superb film, superb performances, based on a brilliant stage play, Claude Rains riding shotgun, mesmerizing and unforgettable. There, I think I covered all the bases. Actually deserves a 20 and I mean to talk to the IMDb about making a special rating system for this film. They listen to me, they really do...
  • Boxer Joe Pendleton is killed in an airplane crash, while training for a championship match, however Joe wasn't to die for sometime far into the future. In order to make things right, Mr. Jordan (in charge of all arrivals for the hereafter) searches for another body that Joe can use until his time is up. The body of financier Bruce Farnsworth is the selection after he is killed by his wife and secretary in order to continue their romance and get ahold of his finances. Betty Logan appears to get Farnsworth to settle the matter concerning her father, who was sent to prison in a deal swindled by Farnsworth, and Joe frees her father, but falls for her as well. In the meantime, Joe (as Farnsworth- everyone sees Joe as Farnsworth but Joe sees himself as his true being-) starts training for the championship fight (it was Joe's natural destiny to become champ), with the help of Joe's trainer, Max Corkle. This upsets Julia Farnsworth, who then decides to make certain that Joe/Farnsworth is killed. Joe and Mr. Jordan work to make sure Joe can find another body in order to become boxing champ, bring Julia and Abbott to justice, and keep the romance alive between Joe & Betty. This film has such a beautiful charm (even though it seems hokey at times, but it has the ability to bridge gaps between audiences easily. An excellent script, crisp direction, and excellent performances by the cast (Gleason standing out as the befuddled trainer Corkle.) The ending is both brilliant and touching. Rating, 9.
  • dwtm28 November 2005
    During a flight in a personal airplane, a young boxer by the name of Joe Pendleton crashes into a wooded area - just within the first ten minutes of the beginning of Here Comes Mr. Jordan. Unfortunately, a heavenly escort prematurely plucks his body from the plane before the actual crash, thereby rendering Joe body-less, yet technically alive. Joe's body is promptly cremated, so his new friend, Mr. Jordan, promises Joe a new form and they begin a search for a replacement. The 1941 film centers around Joe Pendleton, an affable man and a capable boxer, who is on his way to a fight whenever he meets his untimely death. With the help of Mr. Jordan, Joe attempts to reverse his misfortune with a new body and a fresh opportunity to enter the title fight. Along the way, however, he meets the unexpected: a beautiful, independent, and charmingly belligerent woman that he falls hopelessly in love with. The film centers around Joe's struggle to realize his dream of winning a title fight, however, it is truly a romantic comedy with themes that tend to focus on love and the fulfillment of our dreams. The makers of the film use Joe's different forms to impart their view that love is a connection between two people, while the body is simply a shell and love is a faceless awareness that sees through physical realities. Don't be turned off by this seemingly heavy theme, because Joe's constant wisecracks and frequent squabbles with the man who took him from his body keep the film light and enjoyable. Despite the occasional sluggish scene, this timeless film offers enough clean-cut comedy and bearable romanticism to warrant a viewing. It deals with an important subject without taking any importance away from keeping the film light and fun to watch.
  • Here comes mr jordan is my all time favourite movie and being only fourteen and not having seen many movies i believe that this would be impossible for any other movie. sure there are others but the scenes, the acting, the effects, and the atmosphere of the movie are so beautiful i cry every time i see it. i hope one day they re-release it at the cinema because this sort of movie should be recognised for it's brilliance. leonard maltin gave it four out of four stars and being the respected critic he is i completely agree. i advise you to see it again and again for a classic such as here comes mr jordan should never die

    jemima faith
  • Joe Pendleton dies prematurely when a heavenly messenger takes him before his time. This film examines how that messenger and his supervisor try and placate Mr. Pendleton with other bodies. This is a charming, fun, almost innocent film from a bygone era. Robert Montgomery is very good as the saxaphone-playing boxer who outwardly seems rough but inwardly has a heart of gold(okay, it gave me cliches too). The cast in this film excels. Montgomery is ably assisted by Claude Rains, James Gleason, Evelyn Keyes, and, my personal favourite, Edward Everett Horton. Rains plays the heavenly Mr. Jordan trying to fix Horton's heavenly blunder. Rains is as always very good, and his scenes in particular bring a warm glow to the screen. My favourite moments, however, are the scenes with rains and Horton talking "shop" and the ones with Horton and Montgomery bantering back and forth. Horton is a forgotten mine of comedic ability. Many reviewers seem obligated to make comparisons between this film and its most famous remake Heaven Can Wait. I like them both. Both films have qualities that exceed the other. Why we have to say one is better solely because it is older(or newer) is beyond me sometime.
  • preppy-320 February 2004
    Boxer Joe Pendleton (Robert Montgomery) is all set to fight to become the Champion. Unfortunately he's in a plane crash and a collector (Edward Everett Horton) "takes" his soul to Heaven. But the collector acted too quickly...Joe WASN'T supposed to die! The Head Collector Mr. Jordan (Claude Rains) gets him the temporary body of Bruce Farnsworth--whose wife and secretary are trying to kill. And he falls in love with Bette Logan (Evelyn Keyes). How long will he be in Farnsworth---and will he want to leave and will he live?

    I caught this on TV when I was a kid in the 1970s. I loved it! Soon after I saw the lousy 1978 remake "Heaven Can Wait" with Warren Beatty as Pendleton (he's no Montgomery). I just saw it again and I still love it!

    The plot is pretty silly but the whole film is done with a very light touch and the cast pulls it off. Nobody seems to be taking it too seriously (which is good). Montgomery is very good in his role--if a little too over the top at times. Keyes is sweet and charming--she does wonders with the "good girl" role. Horton is very funny as one of the collectors and Rains is just fantastic as Mr. Jordan--a perfectly done performance (no surprise coming from Rains). More screen time with Jordan could have helped. But as it is it's just very good. I'm only giving it an 8--it's funny...but not enough. The jokes made me smile once in a while, but that's about it. A huge hit in it's day.

    This (understandably) won two Academy Awards for Best Story and Screenplay. It was nominated for Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Director and Cinematography.

    Worth seeing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As wonderful as this original version is, it and all its remakes have one horrible, gaping plot hole.

    WARNING: NOT-SO-HEAVENLY SPOILER BELOW...

    Does it bother anyone else that in the end, Joe Pendleton is erased? I don't mean he dies and goes to Heaven like presumably every other soul in the movie's universe. I mean, because of Edward Everett Horton's foul-up (and Claude Rains's heavenly cover-up), Pendleton ends up in the body of K.O. Murdoch with no memory of his previous life as Pendleton. In fact, he is Murdoch, although he still looks like Robert Montgomery (no doubt "Quantum Leap" was inspired by this, four decades later).

    Sure, he has some faint residual feelings of Pendleton's that make him hire James Gleason to be his manager, and he and Evelyn Keyes will no doubt fall in love. But the Joe Pendleton who grew up and lived his life and knew both of them before his memory was erased...PERMANENTLY CEASES TO EXIST. Pendleton is the only guy in all Creation who never gets into Heaven, thanks to of a bureaucratic mistake.

    He'd have one helluva lawsuit, if only he had any memory of how badly he got ripped off.
  • Extremely slight film-version of Harry Segall's play "Heaven Can Wait" stars Robert Montgomery as a boxer who receives an unexpected transfer of his soul by a novice angel who thought the boxer was to die in a plane accident. Exposition-heavy fantasy keeps stressing the same trivial points over and over, and Montgomery is rather tepid in the lead (the whole film depends upon his performance, but Montgomery hasn't that much charisma as an actor to carry the weight). Some sweet scenes, but the rest is innocuous. Remade by Warren Beatty (as "Heaven Can Wait") in 1978; there's something about this material that none of the writers were able to solve: the circumstances of the plot work against our sympathies for several supporting characters, who are ultimately left out of the happy ending. ** from ****
  • Based on Harry Segall's play, "Heaven Can Wait," Alexander Hall's 1941 original film adaptation boasts some fine performances, although the overall effort is pale in comparison to Warren Beatty's 1978 update. Boxer Joe Pendleton's soul is prematurely pulled from his body by an overeager angel, played by Edward Everett Horton, who wanted to save him from the pain of impending death in a plane crash. When Mr. Jordan, an angelic corporate manager, realizes the mistake, he tries to compensate with a comparable body to replace Pendleton's, which has been cremated.

    "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" falls in the supernatural genre that attempts to reassure viewers that the afterlife is comfortingly similar to the physical world. Robert Montgomery gives a fine performance as Pendleton, who is choosy about his replacement body, because he has aspirations to a boxing championship. When he tries out murdered millionaire Bruce Farnsworth's body, he becomes involved with a young woman in trouble, a scheming wife and secretary, and his incredulous boxing manager from the Pendleton days. Hall keeps the pacing brisk, and the film is a tight 94 minutes. Besides Montgomery, James Gleason is fine as the manager, and Horton plays the discretely coded gay character as well as ever. Claude Rains as Mr. Jordan is right for the role, although restrained. Unfortunately, for those familiar with "Heaven Can Wait," the Beatty remake, the roles of the wife and secretary are lackluster in comparison to the inspired turns by Dyan Cannon and Charles Grodin. Evelyn Keyes as Betty also suffers when compared to Julie Christie.

    The general tone of "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" is more serious than that of its remake, and viewers may prefer the hilarity of Grodin and Cannon to the straight performances by Rita Johnson and John Emery in the original. However, the film's mood shift may owe to the differing historical periods. Perhaps a world on the verge of World War II was looking for reassurance that lost loved ones would live on, while viewers in the late 1970's approached the same subject matter as escapist romantic fancy. Either way, the story remains durable and entertaining, and both versions were showered with Oscar nominations. Take your pick, or, better yet, watch them both and judge for yourself.
  • Boxer Joe Pendleton is days away from his championship bout when his private plane goes down and the agents of death take him away to heaven. Unfortunately for Joe, the agent acted too fast and, had he waited he would have seen Joe recover the crashing aircraft and make it away safely. Problem is in the time taken to sort this out (which has involved top agent Mr Jordan), Joe's earthly remains have been cremated with no chance of him just being returned to his body. So begins a search for another body for Joe, a search that ultimately leads to millionaire Farnsworth – who has just been murdered by his wife and her lover.

    Looking at the basic plot (and even the detail of the ending) it does strike me as rather amazing that this did get made as a studio picture because it does have a dark streak to it that could easily have undercut any comedy, whimsy or romance and alienated the audience. Watching it again recently it does still surprise me that it pulls it off but somehow it is light, funny and with plenty of charm and somehow even the rather ambiguous ending comes off as lifting and happy. A big part of this for me is the cast because they get the delivery just right – in particular Robert Montgomery. Some have said that Rains dominates his scenes but I totally disagree, Montgomery owns the film because the tough but kind nature of his character is the engine that drives it to success. He is note perfect and his performance kept me with the tone of the film. Rains is nearly as good but is more of a cool presence in each scene.

    Hall's direction holds it together and makes the tone so that we never lose the slight hint of darkness but prevents it ever getting in the way of the comedy and fantasy of the piece. Here Comes Mr Jordan has been remade several times recently and you can see why because this original is charming and fresh with solid comedy and whimsy held together by a couple of great performances.
  • DKosty1239 September 2009
    Robert Montgomery & Claude Rains carry this film. There are several other good people in the cast but the main stars are the glue. The story here has been redone twice now, Chris Rock the latest & Heaven Can Wait earlier. Neither remake has the charm of this one.

    The story here is one of the strengths. It relies on light comedy & romance plus situations to carry the film. They do so quite well as the actresses in this are not as well known now as the actors, & they are clearly in support. This film has had a recent restoration which pretty much has made it as originally released.

    Claude Rains is an angel here, but he could play almost any role. It isn't too long after this that he is memorable in Casablanca. While it is obvious Rains worked hard in perfecting all the roles he played, he often brings them off making it look easy. In this case, he makes the angel role believable enough that you wonder if he might be there now, waiting for all of us when we go.
  • Watching "Here Comes Mr. Jordan," I had that experience that happens every so often when you're simply not responding to something the way seemingly every other person on earth has responded to the same thing.

    I've only heard about what a classic film this is, up there with some of the best, so was disappointed to find that I was restless and somewhat bored with it. The assembly-line approach taken to filmmaking during the studio era could result in masterpieces, but it more often resulted in producing films like this -- a bit flat and uninspired, never offensively bad but rarely breathtakingly good. Robert Montgomery, James Gleason and Claude Rains hit their marks and are easy enough to watch, but little about this film made me laugh or otherwise feel much of anything at all.

    Grade: B
  • Truly original in it's concept.Great comedy with a dash of serious and sad undertones. A good comic platform for James Gleason, who plays the role to it's fullest. Robert Montgomery shows there is more to having true "heart: than a body
  • This is another of those stories Hollywood has always loved to do: fun, "Heavan Can Wait"-type of films where people come back from the dead and are in other bodies or are friendly ghosts like "Topper" (or unfriendly). It almost helps to promote their reincarnation beliefs and other occult "theologies" that so many pagans love to promote.

    Unlike a number of the others, this film is non-offensive. There are no anti-Christian sentiments, although real Biblical theology is never told in here. Also in Hollywood, all people go to heaven.

    Anyway, everyone is fun to watch in here, particularly Claude Rains in the starring role. Also featured are two underrated actors of the day: Rita Johnson and James Gleason. The latter stole the film with his humor, as far as I was concerned. Bob Montgomery does a nice job at playing the dumb boxer.

    It's a charming story and good lightweight entertainment.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really liked this fun romantic comedy-fantasy. I'm not big on Robert Montgomery, and his first scenes boxing in the ring (with a little paunch!)and then speaking in that trying-to-be-low-class accent made him seem miscast, but he grew on me as the film went on, and I really enjoyed his performance. It's one of his best.

    I just love the the premise of the film, and the fantasy-yet-reality of it all. The script, taken from the hit stage play HEAVEN CAN WAIT, is sharp, witty and runs along with a nice pace. Claude Rains gives an excellent performance as the title character, he is completely memorable and it's another one of his classic supporting roles. Gleason and Everett Horton also do some good work, and even if Rita Johnson is a bit stiff as Mrs Farnsworth (and why on earth is she is on the front cover of the Columbia DVD with Montgomery and Rains when it is the lovely Evelyn Keyes who is the leading lady? Were they too lazy to correct this glaring error?) she sure makes you detest her! Keyes, who I'm only familiar with as Suellen O'Hara, gives a nice performance in a role that doesn't really ask for her to do much except look pretty and slowly fall for Montgomery.

    It's a great oft-overlooked classic, with important, thought-provoking, moving themes of life, death and love. Above all, it's just great fun, mixing light comedy with romance and questioning our existence without being heavy-handed at all.
  • Here Comes Mr. Jordan is directed by Alexander Hall and adapted from Harry Segall's play by Sidney Buchman & Seton Miller. It stars Robert Montgomery, Evelyn Keyes, Claude Rains, Rita Johnson, Edward Everett Horton and James Gleason. Photography is by Joseph Walker and Friedrich Hollaender scores the music. Plot sees Montgomery as boxer Joe Pendleton, who during a journey in a small plane finds himself crashing towards the earth but then suddenly finds that he is in heaven. Turns out that his soul was saved before the crash impact by angel 7013 (Horton) who assumed that he wouldn't have survived the crash. Bad call, tho, because it wasn't Pendleton's time, he's not due to die for another 50 years! So superior angel Mr. Jordan (Rains) escorts him back to Earth, but the trouble is is that Joe's body has been cremated by his boxing manager Max (Gleason), so the search is on for a new body for Joe to exist in. First stop; a murder victim!

    Fun and appealing comedy that offers up dry observations on the afterlife and keeps its romantic plot strand on the warm side of the bed. It's that the makers can marry up the comedy to the romance so well that makes the film so utterly beguiling. The characters are easily to warm too, so as the plot delightfully twists and turns, we are happy to run with them into each well written corner. The film is also very well casted, with Montgomery bullish without over doing it, and Rains elegant and enjoying his role. But the joys come in the support cast with Horton all prissy as the over zealous 7013 and Gleason playing it spot on as the bemused and incredulous manager. Bonus, too, is that the ending offers up a two fold resolution that shows a better hand than many other comedies of the era.

    Uncynical if a touch routine, Here Comes Mr. Jordan is heartily recommended fare to the classic comedy seeker. 7.5/10
  • If you're keeping score...

    "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" was remade in 1978 as "Heaven Can Wait" and again in 2001 as "Down to Earth." It inspired a sequel, the 1947 movie also entitled "Down to Earth" and that sequel itself as remade in 1980 as "Xanadu." Whew! Doubtless it has served as the inspiration for several other films and TV shows as well. For all that, however, the original remains the best. Sorry, Warren.

    Oh, did I mention it was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Robert Montgomery) and Best Supporting Actor (James Gleason)? It won two awards for its writing. Yes, it was pretty popular in its day.

    The plot now may seem overly-familiar, but that's only because of all the shows that have been inspired by it since. Boxer Joe Pendleton is killed in a plane crash, but oops, not really. He was taken to Heaven too soon and now must somehow be returned to Earth in a different body to live out his days.

    Snappy writing, fast paced direction and excellent acting combine to make this a very fun ride. There aren't a lot of belly laughs here, but you will likely find yourself smiling all the way through to the end. And then you might find yourself brushing away a tear at that ending. All in all it truly defines what people mean when they say "They don't make 'em like that anymore."
  • jhnjrv5 July 2002
    It is often the supporting actors who make a film great, and such is the case for "Jordan". In particular, James Gleason turns in a fine performance. This is not to say that Robert Montgomery does not - his is a competent (and often mordant) portrayal of the dead pugilist. I first saw this film on the island of Corsica, sitting in an open field on a bomb crate. It was well received by us fliers.
  • sdave759610 September 2009
    "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" made in 1941 and remade two more times, both with Warren Beatty in 1978 with "Heaven Can Wait" and the Chris Rock "Down to Earth" in 2005. This one is the best, although Warren Beatty's version is respectable. Robert Montgomery shines as Joe Pendleton, a tough-talking boxer who dies while piloting his own plane. But his death has been a "mistake" or so says "Mr. Jordan" (Claude Rains) who seems to rule over heaven and decide whose time it is or isn't. Well, Joe gets sent back to earth, with the able assistance of his heavenly/ghostly friend, but his old body is -- well, gone. It all gets quite complicated and hilarious, with Joe inhabiting the body of a rich man, and then a fighter. He falls big time for the lovely Evelyn Keyes (who could blame him). All Joe wants is a chance to compete in the big boxing match that was denied him with his death. This is, hands down, Robert Montgomery's best performance (although his performance in "Night Must Fall" in 1937 comes pretty close). He is spot-on as the tough boxer with a soft side, and his expressions and gestures are perfect, as is his New York accent. Montgomery had already been in Hollywood a long time by 1941, starting in the last days of silent films and transitioning to sound. Claude Rains is wonderful as Mr. Jordan, James Gleason plays his role to the hilt, as Joe's befuddled boxing manager. But these are supporting players, and this is Robert Montgomery's movie all the way -- and he does not disappoint.
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