Production Company: Frank Borzage Productions, Fox Film Corporation
Distributor: Fox Film Corporation
Top Billed Actors: Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Ben Bard
IMDb Rating: 7.9
*Best Picture Nominee*
Won 3 Oscars:
Best Director - Frank Borzage
Best Actress - Janet Gaynor
Best Writing (Adapted) - Benjamin Glazer
Nominated for 2 more:
Best Art Direction - Harry Oliver
Plot: A sewer worker saves a prostitute from her sister's whip and they climb stairs.
7th Heaven gets its name from an apartment on the seventh floor in Paris, in which Farrell and Gaynor spend a great portion of the film. At various points throughout the movie, the camera pans up the stairs. When Farrell first leads Gaynor to his apartment, we see the couple travel up all seven flights of stairs, with the shot traveling up along through the floor with them. This direction by Frank Borzage, along with exceptional battle scenes and a few incredible shots of Gaynor walking in the streets towards the beginning of the film, is certainly why he became the first directing Oscar winner.
One thing I do not like is the religious angle of the movie. It is expected in a film with the word "heaven" in its title, but it felt preachy at times. It does not hinder the plot, as it only occurs on a few title cards, but I dislike it all the same. Another aspect I did not enjoy was the pacing of the film. Some scenes seem to go on a bit long, which makes sense as this was originally a Broadway play. The battle sequences and some comic relief alleviate some of this lag, but be prepared for some lengthy scenes.
Overall, I am not a huge fan of romance dramas. But when the right ingredients, such as excellent acting and innovative directing, are in place, I can't help but fall for a story like this.
My Score: 8/10