7.7/10
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That's the Spirit (1945)

A vaudeville performer returns from the dead to help his wife and daughter, who are being dominated by a greedy banker.

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Sheila Gogarty
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Steve 'Slim' Gogarty
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Libby Cawthorne Gogarty
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Jasper Cawthorne
Johnny Coy ...
Martin Wilde Jr.
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Martin Wilde Sr.
Arthur Treacher ...
Masters
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Bilson
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L.M.
...
Patience
Edith Barrett ...
Abigail
Rex Storey ...
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Storyline

A vaudeville performer returns from the dead to help his wife and daughter, who are being dominated by a greedy banker.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Did You Ever See A Piccoloed Ghost? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

1 June 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Henki vaelluksella  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Baby, Won't You Please Come Home?
Written by Clarence Williams and Charles Warfield
Performed by Johnny Coy and Peggy Ryan
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User Reviews

Moving, amusing ghost story, with knockout musical numbers
10 June 2010 | by (advicetothelovelorn.blogspot.com) – See all my reviews

That's the Spirit (Charles Lamont, 1945) is an absolutely delightful ghost comedy, among the best of the succession made in the '30s and '40s. Jack Oakie plays a vaudeville performer in the early-1900s who gives up his life for that of his wife (June Vincent), as she suffers complications during the birth of their daughter. Unfortunately, he's seen shuffling off this mortal coil with a not unattractive (though bloody creepy) woman who just happens to be the spectre of death. Oakie spends the next 15 years begging to be sent back to Earth to mend his wife's broken heart, and finally heavenly bureaucrat Buster Keaton relents, allowing the chubby comic a week to clear his name and rescue the happiness of his hoofing offspring (Peggy Ryan), herself desperate to climb out from beneath the thumb of grandfather Gene Lockhart.

The film wears its heady sentiment lightly, aided by Oakie's unexpectedly poignant, powerful turn, and there's top support from peerless, pug-faced villain Lockhart, Keaton - well-used for once in a talkie - and Vincent, in a quiet, affecting performance. Ryan, well-known to '40s audiences as part of a double-act with future Singin' in the Rain dancer Donald O'Connor, is also ideal in her key role, starring in a handful of superlative numbers alongside Johnny Coy, with How Come You Do Me Like You Do the absolute standout. That's the Spirit isn't as sophisticated or as slickly-plotted as - say - Here Comes Mr Jordan, placing a greater emphasis on sheer silliness, but I found it completely winning, and was taken aback by Oakie's touching central characterisation.


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