I've been trying to find good movies to watch with a pregnant SHR. She really has no attention span. This movie shows me that maybe we need to have a bit of an Ernst Lubitsch fest over the next couple of months. His movies are smart, fun, and easy to follow. Perfect.
This movie is about a man, Henry Van Cleve who upon his death heads to the place where so many people have told him to go - to hell. So he obliges and asks Mr. Satan for admittance. But the incredibly polite Satan isn't so sure and wants to hear Van Cleve's story before agreeing to send him to hell.
This film fits in nicely with the Lubitsch canon. And it has my new favorite actor in the world - Laird Cregar who plays Satan in this. And it also has Eugene Pallette - the frog-voiced actor who played Friar Tuck in The Adventures of Robin Hood. Not to mention the scrumptious Gene Tierney, and the dapper Don Ameche. Both SHR and I agreed that he kind of looked like a mixture of Brad Pitt and Gary Cooper as a young man and a combination of Brad Pitt and Jon Stewart as an older man.
There's a kooky grandpa, there's the gay 1890's, there's glorious Technicolor, there's excellent facial hair. This movie has everything. I'd seen this a few years back at Film Forum. I loved it as much the second time as I did the first time. I should re-watch the Warren Beatty version as well. I have fond memories of seeing that in the theater with my mom. Plus the gay 90's have been updated to the raunchy 70's with Beatty as a Rams quarterback. Can it possibly be as good as I remember it? Perhaps even better?
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch