Cockeyed Miracle, The (1946): Fantasy Film, Featuring Reliable Character Actors Frank Morgan, Keenan Wynn, Cecil Kellaway, Gladys Cooper

Reflecting Hollywood’s fascination with ghost-themes pictures, The Cockeyed Miracle¬† is fantasy film about a ghost who, assisted by his father’s ghost, succeeds in stopping his friend from depriving his family of its inheritance.

Based on the play But Not Goodbye by George Seaton, who later became a director (Perhaps best known for The Country Girl, starring Grace Kelly in her Oscar winning turn), the film features some of the best character actors at the time: Frank Morgan and Keenan Wynn and ghosts, and Cecil Kellaway as the villain, Gladys Cooper as the wife, Audrey Totter as the daughter in love.

There are no special effects, and no humor (the tone is flat), and the lack of a central character, played by a star of stature may explain why this modest black-and-white feature was a flop at the box-office, despite its low budget.

Morgan plays old shipbuilder Sam Griggs, at the end of his career due to health issues. Kellaway, his best friend, has invested his family’s money in real estate venture, of which the rest of his family is unaware of–each too preoccupied with his own financial prospects.

When Sam die, he meets the younger ghost of his father Ben Griggs (Wynn), ready to guide his son into the afterlife. Sam insists on lingering to help his family as best he can, first persuading Ben to use his supernatural power to cause storms to help along a romance between his daughter and a lodger, and then to aid the success of his investment.

Sam’s wife Amy (Cooper) encourages her children to remember their father fondly. All seem good, when Tom plans to hand the grieving family Sam’s share, but greed prevents him, and he leaves with the money for himself.

Sam and his father feel helpless, but a storm causes Tom’s death from lightning strike. Sam and Ben finally leave for the afterlife, hoping that the police¬†will find the check on his body.