There is an awful lot that has been and can be written about this film. I touched briefly on 1967’s impact on American cinema a few years back, so I’m not really going to delve into that aspect of the film, though I will point out a few things that made it a game-changer. I remember when I first saw this film, I wasn’t all that impressed to be honest. But the more I watch it the more its genius reveals itself to me. I saw it on the big screen at the Castro last spring and I am so glad that I did. A few weeks ago some kind stranger anonymously bought it for me from my Amazon wishlist, so I decided it was time for another revisit. The result is going to be this rather epic look at what I now realize is one of the most exquisitely directed films of all time. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, though it only won one: Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress Katharine Ross, Best Actress Anne Bancroft, Best Actor Dustin Hoffman, Best Director Mike Nichols (won) and Best Picture. The other films up for Best Picture that year were Bonnie and Clyde, Doctor Doolittle, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and winner In The Heat of the Night.
Judy: I believe you dropped something.
Howard: What do you think you are doing?
Judy: I think I’m taking a bath, aren’t I?
Howard: If you’re not out of here in two minutes, I’m calling the police.
Judy: Who do you think they’ll arrest? The girl in the tub or the guy with his pants down?
Howard: I am not joking now. I do not like to act rashly, but you are the last straw that breaks my camel’s back, you are the plague, you bring havoc and chaos to everyone, but why to me? Why me? Why?
Judy: Because you look cute in your pyjamas, Steve.
Howard: GET OUT!
Judy: Right now?
[Judy starts to get out the bath]
Howard: No! Wait a minute!
Heaven Can Wait is one of my favorite romantic comedies, though I don’t really want to box it into that genre. It’s more than just a run-of-the-mill rom-com. It’s a meditation on life and love and the pursuit of happiness. It’s also a little bit sci-fi and a little bit sports. Basically, it’s a mix of a lot of great things all in one perfect 101 min film. It lost to The Deer Hunter and I’m not even going to try to argue that that was the wrong choice, because I don’t think it was. The Deer Hunter was definitely the right choice; I just really love Heaven Can Wait and feel like not nearly enough people have seen it. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction (won), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor Jack Warden, Best Supporting Actress Dyan Cannon, Best Actor Warren Beatty, Best Director and Best Picture. It was up against Coming Home, Midnight Express, An Unmarried Woman and winner The Deer Hunter.