That's the Spirit  [DVD]Jack Oakie (actor)
Peggy Ryan (actor)
Buster Keaton (actor)
Format: all-region dvd (worldwide)
Quality: Good 4:3 b/w
A vaudeville performer returns from the dead to help his wife and daughter, who are being dominated by a greedy banker.
From an imdb reviewer: That's The Spirit is my favorite movie from that category of fantasy films that involve spirits or angels visiting the Earth to influence mortals, films like The Bishop's Wife, A Guy Named Joe, Beyond Tomorrow, and Here Comes Mr. Jordan. This one begins circa 1900 A.D. Gene Lockhart (A Christmas Carol, Miracle On 34th Street) is perfect as Jasper Cawthorne, an austere patriarch who forbids his daughter Libby (June Vincent) to see a show that includes such base vices as music and laughter. Libby sneaks out to see the show and falls in love at first sight with one of the performers, Steve Gogarty (Jack Oakie, in one of his best roles). Andy Devine (Island In The Sky) plays Gogarty's partner Martin Wilde. When Cawthorne learns of his daughter's involvement, he takes legal action to shut down the
show, but discovering his daughter's presence backstage he insists she and Gogarty get married. Within the year Libby is giving birth to a daughter, Sheila, but the doctor indicates complications are arising during labor. In the waiting room with Cawthorne and Wilde, Gogarty prays that if anything's to happen to her, let it happen to him instead. The angel of death, on her way into the birthing room, hears his prayer, changes course, and leads Gogarty to Heaven. Cawthorne only sees her as a mysterious woman seducing his son-in-law. In Heaven Gogarty protests to a clerk, "L.M.," played by the great film comic Buster Keaton (The General, In The Good Old Summertime), who says he can't even consider sending him back to Earth until he's completed training. This takes 18 years. In the meantime Sheila grows up under Cawthorne's oppression. When Gogarty complains again, L.M. monitors Sheila's environment, agrees that Cawthorne is unfair to her, especially with his opinion of Gogarty, and
sends Gogarty back to Earth, invisible to all except his daughter, who's never seen him before. As Gogarty's spirit attempts to guide the people surrounding Sheila to do the right thing, the film is filled with delightful humor and uplifting musical numbers, with a few poignant moments in the plot. The cast is sublime. Dancer Johnny Coy plays Wilde's son and romantic interest for Sheila, in a rare filmed appearance - he only performed on film about a dozen times. Arthur Treacher and Irene Ryan (who went on to play Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies) are splendid as the butler, Masters, and maid, Bilson. Trivia: The plot is similar to Rodger's & Hammerstein's Carousel, in which Gene Lockhart also had a role 11 years later.