Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Here Comes Mr. Jordan ★★★★

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Criterion Collection - #819

As high concept Alexander Hall’s Here Comes Mr. Jordan may be, it speaks intimately and occasionally reveal some of life’s truths, one that shoots beyond than just the mild entertainment that such a premise could provide, and instead bring forth a thought-provoking piece that would lead it’s protagonist, a recently deceased Joe Pendleton (Robert Montgomery), onto a road of generous amends and reflection of self-identity.

Although such ideas may fool some into thinking that they may be in for a heavily dramatic film, but much like in the same vein as the modern comedy favourite, Bruce Almighty, there are laughs and joy to be had throughout Here Comes Mr. Jordan. May it be the initial daft indecisiveness of Joe Pendleton; or Edward Everett Horton’s newly drafted messenger who causes a blunder in bringing Joe’s mortality prematurely; or may it be the hilarious nervousness of Max Corkle (James Gleason) who steals much of the scenery throughout the film’s latter sections, Here Comes Mr. Jordan inhabits the vibes of a light-hearted adventure that emits pure fun upon every turn.

However, the dramatic centre of it all is sourced from Joe’s subtle transformation and romantic affair with Bette Logan (Evelyn Keyes), who inspires him to change the life of a millionaire playboy that currently lives a lifestyle filled with distrust and resentment from those closest to him. Guiding Joe in all this is the titular character, played here by the calmly mannered and thoughtful Claude Rains, who himself is attempting to make amends for the blunder that one of his new messengers have made, allowing Joe to live the destiny that was meant to be bestowed upon him, and though hilarity and awkwardness ensues, Mr. Jordan is the unshakeable presence that keeps the film coherent and progressing forward to it’s focal points.

Although I personally feel Here Comes Mr. Jordan does not provide enough emphasis on the aspects of Joe’s previous and new lives in order to identify the contrasting transformation of Joe’s soul, there is enough fun, charm, and warmth in Alexander Hall’s direction, Sidney Bachman and Seton I. Miller’s screenplay, and not to mention the wonderful performances from the cast, that much of the shortcomings were forgivable, especially upon retrospect. I think now that I aware of the directions that Here Comes Mr. Jordan would take, that subsequent viewings would find such quibbles eradicated and reveal new strengths that were previously eluded.

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