7.6/10
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That's the Spirit (1945)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical | 1 June 1945 (USA)
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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...
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Libby Cawthorne Gogarty
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Jasper Cawthorne
Johnny Coy ...
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Martin Wilde Sr.
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Masters
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Bilson
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L.M.
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Patience
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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.

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Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

1 June 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Espíritu triunfador  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Soundtracks

Bugle Call Rag
Written by Elmer Schoebel, Billy Meyers and Jack Pettis
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User Reviews

 
One of my favorites.
13 July 2000 | by See all my reviews

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.


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