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Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Blu-ray (1941/2016)

This 1941 original inspired many remakes and is considered by many still the best of them.

Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Blu-ray (1941/2016)
Cast: Robert Montgomery, Claude Rains, Evelyn Keyes
Director: Alexander Hall
Studio: Columbia Pictures/ The Criterion Collection 819 [6/14/16]
Video: 1.33:1 or 4:3 B&W 1080p HD
Audio: English mono PCM
No region rating
Extras: Conversation bet. critic Michael Sragow and filmmaker/distributor Michael Schlesinger, Audio-only interview (1991) with daughter of Robert Montgomery, Audio-only Lux Radio Theatre version of film (1942) with Cary Grant & Claude Rains, Theatrical trailer, Essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme in printed booklet
Length: 94 min.
Rating: *****

This film won an Oscar for the screenwriting and stars Montgomery as a good-Joe boxer headed for a championship fight (who also struggles on the sax on the side) until he is killed in a plane crash. He was whisked out of the crashing plane by mistake by Edward Everett Horton – the angel assigned to Montgomery. Heaven’s head man, Mr. Jordan (Claude Rains) has to find Bob a new body allowing him to have his title fight. The first body is that of a recently-murdered millionaire, leading to further complications.

James Gleason plays Bob’s befuddled fight manager, and almost takes the film away from the romantic interest with his antics, the lovely Evelyn Keyes. The idea of someone dying and then coming back to earth kept this film in remakes for many years – many of us have seen the Warren Beatty color version (Heaven Can Wait), but some critics still consider this one the very best one.

Claude Rains is superb as Mr. Jordan, the acting is excellent, and the restoration perfect.  Although two of them are audio-only, the extras – true of those with nearly all Criterion remasterings – are fascinating too.

—John Sunier

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