Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2019) on… Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)

And now for a “heavenly” comedy from 1941, the classic Here Comes Mr. Jordan, starring Robert Montgomery, Claude Rains and Evelyn Keyes.

On his way to his next boxing match, Joe Pendleton’s (Robert Montgomery) plane goes down. However, right before it crashes, Joe’s spirit is pulled out by the angelic Messenger 7013 (Edward Everett Horton). This turns out to be a mistake, as 7013’s superior, Mr. Jordan (Claude Rains) says that Joe was actually supposed to survive the crash and live for another fifty years. To make things worse, when Joe and 7013 return to find his body, they discover that Joe’s manager, Max Corkle (James Gleason), had already cremated the body.  So, to rectify that mistake, Mr. Jordan tries to help Joe find a new body to live in, to Joe’s satisfaction.  They end up using the body of millionaire playboy Bruce Farnsworth, who had just been murdered by his wife and her lover. Joe was reluctant to use that body, except he wanted to help Bette Logan (Evelyn Keyes), who had come to see Farnsworth about getting her father out of jail. Joe did so, all the while falling in love with her. He still wanted to fight in the championship match, so he started working out and revealed himself to his former manager, Max. Of course, Farnsworth’s wife and her lover have other ideas, especially as he spends a lot of their money.

At this point, I am coming off my first time watching this movie. This is one I had heard of before (mainly through Bob Hope referencing it in Road To Morocco), but I otherwise didn’t know much about it. I will say, though, that part of the appeal in trying it was actor Edward Everett Horton, whom I have enjoyed watching many times in other movies, and I was very much delighted to see that his role in this movie was a bit bigger than I had thought it would be! I enjoyed this movie very much, and it thrills me to no end that it does have a sequel of sorts (which I haven’t seen yet), the 1947 movie Down To Earth, which brings back Edward Everett Horton as Messenger 7013 and James Gleason as Max Corkle.

Of course, in discussing the comedy in this movie, one really can’t avoid talking about this movie’s two Oscar-nominated performances from Robert Montgomery and James Gleason.  As Joe Pendleton, Robert Montgomery has a number of wonderfully comic moments with Claude Rains’ Mr. Jordan, since Joe is the only living person who can see him (which obviously leads to some people mistakenly assuming he is talking to them or questioning his sanity).  It’s no surprise that Robert can handle comedy, as it seems to run in his family, as his daughter Elizabeth Montgomery would later star in the classic sitcom Bewitched.  But James Gleason as Max Corkle gets some of the best moments, especially after Joe reveals himself (and the existence of Mr. Jordan, who Max still cannot see or hear).  Seriously, when Max is trying to explain things to the increasingly frustrated police inspector, played by Donald MacBride, that is absolutely hilarious, and that alone is worth watching the movie for! So yes, I very much recommend this movie!

The movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Criterion Collection.

Film Length: 1 hour, 34 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

Audience Rating:

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

The Sea Hawk (1940) – Claude Rains – Now, Voyager (1942)

Holiday (1938) – Edward Everett Horton – Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)

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