That's the Spirit (1945)

Genres - Comedy, Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Heaven-Can-Wait Fantasies, Musical Fantasy  |   Release Date - Jun 1, 1945 (USA)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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The producer/screenwriter team of Michael Fessler and Ernest Pagano turned out several offbeat comedies for Universal in the 1940s; curiously, the one with the most fanciful plot, That's the Spirit, is the most conventional of the bunch. On the verge of fatherhood, happy-go-lucky Steve (Jack Oakie) innocently finds himself in the company of a breathtaking blonde who isn't his wife. Before Steve can explain, he abruptly dies and his soul ascends to Heaven. Each year for the next 18 years, Steve shows up at the celestial complaint department, demanding an opportunity to return to earth and square himself with his wife, Libby (June Vincent), and his now-grown daughter, Sheila (Peggy Ryan). Finally, departmental head L.M. (played by Buster Keaton, a "regular" in the Fessler-Pagano films) agrees to send Steve back, though no one will be able to see or hear him. The rest of the film concerns the invisible Steve's efforts to guide his family toward true happiness -- no small task, as it turns out. Featured in the cast of That's the Spirit is Jack Oakie's real-life wife, Victoria Horne.

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assistance, guardian-angel, ghost, return, afterlife, ambition, death, family, music, show-business