Heaven Can WaitBuy Tickets
Elaine May writes and Mike Nichols directs the gut-busting 1996 classic The Birdcage. A remake of the 1978 French film La Cage aux Folles, which was itself an adaptation of an earlier stage play, The Birdcage stars a murderer’s row of comedic talent including Robin Williams, Nathan Lane and a hilarious, scene-stealing Hank Azaria as the Daisy Duke clad Guatemalan houseman Agador. A flamboyant Williams plays straight, and hides his relationship with Lane, when his son gets engaged to the daughter of an embattled conservative senator (Gene Hackman). But when the new in-laws visit, hilarity ensues as lies, misunderstandings and mishaps spiral comically out of control. It’s heartening to see Nichols and May, decades after the dissolution of their comic duo, still working at the top of their game, with their wit and understanding of comedic timing just as sharp as ever.
“Mike Nichols and Elaine May, in their first official screen collaboration, have scored with a riotous comedy whose irreverent topicality is one of its most refreshing components. Performed with matchless aplomb and made with plush professionalism, pic serves up pure pleasure from beginning to end” – Todd McCarthy, Variety
“One of the loopiest, most hysterical family-values movies ever made.” – Hal Hinson, Washington Post
“What makes Mike Nichols’ version more than just a retread is good casting in the key roles and a wicked screenplay by Elaine May” – Roger Ebert
“Goes beyond the stereotypes to see the character’s depth and humanity. The film celebrates differences and points out the outrageousness of hiding those differences.” – GLAAD
- Mike Nichols
- Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan lane, Dianne Wiest, Dan Futterman, Calista Flockhart, Hank Azaria, Christine Baranski
- Running Time
- 119 minutes
Heaven Can Wait
When Joe Pendleton’s (Warren Beatty) destiny of leading the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl is forever altered by a heaven’s gate keeping rookie (Buck Henry), the by-the-book afterlife supervisor Mr. Jordan (James Mason) offers to temporarily put Pendleton into the body of the wealthy tycoon Leo Farnsworth, whose wife (Dyan Cannon) and personal secretary (Charles Grodin) are plotting to kill, in order to usurp his vast fortune. An undaunted Pendleton (as Farnsworth) reaches out to his best friend and Rams’ trainer “Corkle” (Jack Warden) to help him get in NFL caliber shape, win back his quarterback job with the Rams, lead them to a Super Bowl victory and fulfill his destiny. As with McCabe and Mrs. Miller and Shampoo, Beatty and Christie’s chemistry is captivating, as is the mercurial nature of the film, the sublime supporting cast and the seamless screenplay by Elaine May and Beatty. Charles Grodin and Jack Warden are stellar in roles that showcased their talents in this 1978 remake that garnered nine Academy Award nominations.
“An outstanding film… Script and direction are very strong, providing a rich mix of visual and verbal humor that is controlled and avoids the extremes of cheap vulgarity and overly esoteric whimsy.” – Variety
“This is the kind of upbeat screwball comedy Hollywood used to do smoothly and well. Hollywood still does; the co-direction by Beatty and Buck Henry is confident, the performances are slyly humorous without hitting us over the head, and the screenplay (by Elaine May with Beatty’s participation) takes the curse off the plot’s essential sweetness by getting in some nice, mean digs at greed, corporate politics, adultery, professional football in general and jocks in particular.”- Roger Ebert
View a collection of Heaven Can Wait stills on the New Beverly forum.
Garret Mathany discusses Heaven Can Wait on the New Beverly blog.
Kim Morgan discusses Heaven Can Wait on the New Beverly blog.
- Warren Beatty and Buck Henry
- Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, James Mason, Jack Warden, Charles Grodin, Dyan Cannon, Buck Henry, Vincent Gardenia
- Running Time
- 101 minutes