Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 1940. Academy Productions. Story by Mildred Cram, Adele Comandini, Screenplay by Adele Comandini. Cinematography by Lester White. Produced by Lee Garmes. Music by Frank Tours. Production Design by Stephen Goosson. Costume Design by Edwina. Film Editing by Otto Ludwig.
Three industrialists are working on Christmas Eve until the most chipper of the bunch (played by a delightful Charles Winninger) interrupts their gloom with Christmas presents and a fun prank: he convinces them all to put money and a business card into a wallet and throw them out the window to see who comes to join their holiday feast. The takers are a handsome singing cowboy (Richard Carlson) and a beautiful nurse (Jean Parker) who arrive, take one look at each other and fall in love. Some months later, the three old men are killed in a plane crash (yes, you heard this Christmas plot right) and their ghosts remain on earth to take care of unfinished business. Carlson’s quick success in the music biz has distanced him from Parker and thrown him into the arms of an enterprising floozy (Helen Vinson) and these spectral friends must help make things right. Corny and sentimental, this one could get away with its ridiculous plot if it wasn’t for the fact that the characters are flimsy and there is no genuine warmth that ever develops between any of these people. That said, it’s not every day that a Christmas movie features Maria Ouspenskaya as deposed Russian royalty who loves working as a maid, so watch it if you’re curious enough.