Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Heaven Can Wait [1978]

US movie (1978). Paramount. Pr Warren Beatty. Exec pr Howard W Koch Jr, Charles H Maguire. Dir Beatty, Buck Henry. Spfx Robert MacDonald. Screenplay Beatty, Elaine May. Based on Here Comes Mr Jordan (1941), itself based on the play Heaven Can Wait by Harry Segall. Novelization Heaven Can Wait * (1978) by Leonore Fleischer. Starring Warren Beatty (Joe Pendleton/Leo Farnsworth/Tom Jarratt), Dyan Cannon (Julia Farnsworth), Julie Christie (Betty Logan), James Mason (Mr Jordan), Jack Warden (Max Corkle). 100 mins. Colour.

A remake of Here Comes Mr Jordan (1941), but with the central character, Pendleton, now an LA Rams quarterback rather than a boxer: his dream is to play, and win, at the Super Bowl. This dream is brought true when, finally, his substitute, Jarratt, dies on the field and Pendleton takes over his body. In the interim, there are a few changes, mainly PC ones: Logan is now an English schoolteacher come to the USA to persuade Farnsworth not to build a polluting power station, and the turnabout in his company that Pendleton/Farnsworth effects is not merely moral but environmental. Played as a lighter comedy than its predecessor, this works very effectively. Beatty handles the Identity Exchanges well, while Warden, as his eventually convinced trainer, excels. [JG]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.