Melton, Chadwick and O'Brien, rich but lonely heads of an engineering firm, invite three strangers to dinner on Christmas Eve. Only two show up, James and Jean, they fall in love and become friends with their three benefactors...until the latter are killed in a plane crash and come back to their old home as ghosts. In the coming months, true love encounters some rough spots; can ghostly O'Brien help the young folks? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Pleasantly eschewing the logical in favor of the sentimental.
In this elaborately scripted fantasy, when three aging businessmen are unexpectedly left without guests on Christmas Eve, each tosses a wallet including a ten dollar bill from a window in hopes that someone honest will return one, and be asked to dinner, to make their holiday less lonely. Two of the three billfolds are returned, by a young man (Richard Carlson) and a young woman (Jean Parker) whose lives are acutely changed as they are welcomed not only to the table of the three gentlemen but also into their hearts and those of their two retainers (Maria Ouspenskaya and Alex Melesh). The young pair quite appropriately fall in love, only to have their beatitude marred when their sage benefactors die in a plane crash, but when the three promptly return to their town manse as apparitions, a bittersweet tale unfolds when Jimmy, the young man, falls prey to a siren (Helen Vinson) and the trio (C. Aubrey Smith, Charles Winninger, Harry Carey) in their belief that they will not be received in Heaven until they assist the lad in untangling himself from the vixen, set out to do so. After two of the spirits wend their way to Elysium, the last (Winninger) decides to remain within the shadow of Earth, swooping about while attempting to assist his young former charges with their romantic travails. All boils down to an eminently satisfactory ending, with fine work by those involved, including splendid editing by Otto Ludwig and top-drawer art direction by Stephen Goosson, while cast member Ouspenskaya, as a noble émigré from Russia, is especially effective in this amiable film.
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