One Foot in Heaven (1941)

Approved   |    |  Biography, Drama

One Foot in Heaven (1941) Poster

Episodic look at the life of a minister and his family as they move from one parish to another.



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24 May 2007 | jotix100
| A man ahead of his time
Warner Bros. 1941 "One Foot in Heaven" was an inspired film. Based on a real person, William Spence, and adapted the from the biographic book by his son, Hartzel Spence, showed a truly rare individual who gave up his own medical ambition when he heard the call to serve as a Methodist minister. Directed by Irving Rapper, and with a musical score by Max Steiner, it was a crowd pleaser that continues to capture new friends, even today.

The success of the film lies on the fantastic portrayal of William Spence by Fredric March, who was at the height of his career. The character of Mr. Spence comes across as a no-nonsense man who must deal with the narrow mindedness of the small Iowa community he is sent to. Coming with his young wife, Mr. Spence was not prepared for what he would find in Laketon. The beautiful Hope, who came from another world feels inadequate in dealing with the church ladies who come to help her.

Mr. Spence gave his life to the town that didn't want any changes in their lives. When he proposed a new church to replace the older one, he meets the resistance of the elder moneyed classes. When they turn against him, they use every tactic, including slander to get him to his knees, but fortunately, he knew better. At the end, he was successful in giving the town what he envisioned was his contribution to the community where he spent his life.

Mr. March's performance is key that brings the action together. Lovely Martha Scott plays Hope Spence with dignity. The amazing supporting cast is wonderful. Gene Lockhart, Beulah Bondi, Moroni Olsen, and Grant Mitchell, among others do excellent job, something that was a hallmark of the Warner films of the time.

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