Don Ameche radiates charm in Heaven Can Wait, and for modern audiences he’ll need every ounce of it. This is essentially a posthumous defense of a cheating lothario’s life, with his charisma being his chief evidence. And I mean “posthumous” literally. The movie opens with a recently deceased Henry Van Cleve (Ameche) descending an ornate stairway to Hell, or at least its waiting room, where he is interviewed by His Excellency (Laird Cregar). Given his rakish ways, Henry assumes he’ll be admitted immediately, but His Excellency asks Henry to tell the story of his life first. And so we get Henry’s autobiography in flashback, anchored around the various women who had the most impact on him. Gene Tierney is chief among them; indeed, she’s the one he actually marries, a decision she’ll come, for a time, to regret. Things get a bit soapy, but director Ernst Lubitsch gives it all a light touch and a rich Technicolor palette, while Charles Coburn steals more than one scene as Henry’s roguish grandfather. As for Henry’s fate, I doubt I’m giving much away to say that His Excellency finds Henry simply too delightful to condemn. “You never can tell,” he says to Henry, encouraging him to head upstairs. “It’s worth trying.” Heaven Can Wait rests its case on dubious charms; I prefer to see the movie as a lighthearted parable of grace.