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LEONORE FLEISCHER
Heaven Can Wait


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Ballantine, New York, 1978
(price: $1.95; 170 pages)

dedication: For Tom Durbin and auld lang syne


The blurb on the back:

He couldn't be dead. Not now ...
'You don't understand, Mr Jordan. It's a mistake! I can't be dead! I'm the quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams and I'm starting against Dallas on Sunday.'
'We have a body for you, Joe. He's in good shape, a millionaire, eccentric. There's only one hitch. He's being murdered right now by his wife and her lover.'
'Mr Jordan, not another body! The super bowl
[sic] is next week! And Betty loves me...
An out-of-this-world love story!


It's yet another Leonore Fleischer film novelization, but hey, wait just a moment ... it's not as bad as the others. Of course, this is most unfair. If you're writing a novelization, you can only work with the material you're given, and Fleischer benefits this time from being given a damn good story for once.

Originally filmed as Here Comes Mr Jordan back in 1941 and remade with Chris Rock as Down To Earth in 2001, this was the middle version of a story in which someone dies unexpectedly in an accident, arrives in Heaven before his time and has to be fitted out with a new body so that he can come back to Earth to complete his lifespan. It's the best of the three versions and my favourite Warren Beatty movie (damning with faint praise perhaps, but there you are) - he stars, co-directs and co-writes, accompanied by a hugely impressive cast: Julie Christie, James Mason, Jack Warden, Dyan Cannon and Charles Grodin.

Why you would want to read this, I don't know, but if you're a fan of the movie, it'll remind you of it. You'll also enjoy the 16 pages of black and white photos, including this one of James Mason as a celestial bureaucrat:

Jimmy Jimmy
Mr Mason


ARTISTIC MERIT: 2/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
1/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
1/5


from the maker of...

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Annie
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Fame
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The Rose
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Staying Alive

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