When the Heavenly Authorities decide that Joe Pendleton’s life as a pro football quarterback for the LA Rams was ended prematurely he finds himself sent back to Earth – but reincarnated as a millionaire with a murderous wife more dangerous than any football tackle he had endured in his previous life.
Warren Beatty co-directs and stars as the football player accidentally selected to die after a car accident.
Realising he has been called before his time, Joe bargains with celestial middle manager “Mr Jordan” (James Mason) and gets the chance to live again but in someone else’s body – since his has already been cremated.
Joe is sent back to Earth as Leo Farnsworth, a ruthless, super-rich industrialist and uses his new body’s resources to buy the Rams so he can still play for the team.
The delightful storyline also involves Joe’s beloved coach, Max (Jack Warden), Farnsworth’s conniving wife, Julia (Dyan Cannon) and assistant (Charles Grodin), and the beautiful activist Betty Logan (Julie Christie), who is campaigning against Farnsworth’s ecologically damaging business practices.
Beatty’s undeniable charm was a perfect fit for this gentle, witty update of Here Comes Mr Jordan (1941), and Dyan Cannon and Charles Grodin are a scream.
The film became a massive hit, landing at #5 on the list of the year’s top-grossing films at the US box office and earning a slew of Oscar nominations.
Joe Pendleton/Leo Farnsworth
Harry D K Wong
Joseph K Makel