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HEAVEN CAN WAIT

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Final Day - Thursday, June 23

New 4K Restoration

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch

(1943) By-now aged roué Don Ameche, whose life has been “one continuous misdemeanor,” enters Hell’s opulent Art Moderne entrance hall to demand admittance from “His Excellency” Laird Cregar, who reasonably asks for an outstanding crime to qualify for eternal torment. And then the flashbacks begin, in a superbly mellow fantasy of this low-key 19th-century playboy, indulged by clueless parents but understood all too well by foxy grandpa Charles Coburn — and eventually by supremely understanding wife Gene Tierney: they have to elope twice. 4K DCP restoration. Restored by 20th Century Fox and the Academy Film Archive in collaboration with The Film Foundation. Approx. 112 mins.

A TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX RELEASE

Reviews

“A crystalline example of [Lubitsch’s] magnificent cinematic craft.”
– Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“VIBRANT AND ALIVE! The best kind of old movie: The more you see it, the more “new” it seems. The screenplay is by Samson Raphaelson, and it’s tight as a drum — a perfect three-act structure, with jokes so sly as to seem subversive. This is a movie to listen to closely, but watch it just as intently. Lubitsch’s staging of the long stretches of dialogue seems straightforward enough, but the physical path from A to Z in a given scene turns out to be extraordinarily complex — once you start to notice — and so virtuosic you may want to applaud.” 
– Chuck Wilson, The Village Voice 

“No other director brewed so much laughter from sympathy for human weakness. Lubitsch finds in the procession of life milestones one showcase after another for the graceful economy of his expression.”
– Eli Goldfarb, Brooklyn Magazine 

*****! [5 stars]
“[Lubitsch] imagined a sophisticated, sexy universe that’s still worth aspiring to.You’ll be shocked that something this witty got past the censors.”

– Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out 

“MOVING AND SCINTILLATING! HEARTBREAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL! The timing of every shot, every gesture, every movement was so impeccably precise and economically expressive that an entire classical tradition unfolded before a stunned audience… Lubitsch’s best movies are nothing short of sublime.”
– Andrew Sarris

“Samson Raphaelson’s script is very close to perfection, the sumptuous period sets are a delight, and the secondary cast — Charles Coburn, Marjorie Main, Eugene Pallette, and Spring Byington — is wonderful. In many respects, this is Lubitsch’s testament, full of grace, wisdom, and romance.”
– Jonathan Rosenbaum

“LIKE HEARING LOUIS ARMSTRONG AT HIS BEST! Brought back a time when people really made good movies… It has a good deal of [Lubitsch’s] dry sparkle, the shrewd business, and exquisite timing. The period work was about the prettiest and most quietly witty I have ever seen. The color was just as good; it was used with sensitiveness and wit, I thought, for the first time… I saw nothing but good, anywhere, in the doll-like selection, manipulation, and performance of the large cast. Amazed tribute is due somebody. It is certainly due Lubitsch.”
– James Agee

“As usual with Lubitsch, what he doesn’t show us becomes most eloquent. Every time we shift from one sequence to another in this movie, someone we’ve gotten used to seeing around in the family is simply missing, and without comment. It’s this absence of comment that gives the death theme a kind of gathering power, that makes it seem insistent, almost obsessive. […] Lubitsch makes us collusive — surprising us, implicating us in his knowledge. And the association of sex and death, implicit in so much of his film work, is now overt.” 
– James Harvey, Romantic Comedies In Hollywood