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Charley and the Angel

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Title: Charley and the Angel  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: List of 1973 box office number-one films in the United States, Will Stanton (author), 31st Golden Globe Awards, Walt Disney Pictures films, Superdad
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Charley and the Angel

Charley and the Angel
Directed by Vincent McEveety
Produced by Bill Anderson
Written by Will Stanton (book author)
Roswell Rogers (film writer)
Starring Fred MacMurray
Cloris Leachman
Harry Morgan
Kathleen Cody
Kurt Russell
Music by Buddy Baker
Cinematography Charles F. Wheeler
Edited by Bob Bring
Ray de Leuw
Production
company
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution
Release dates
March 23, 1973
Running time
93 min.
Country United States
Language English

Charley and the Angel is a 1973 Disney family/comedy film set in an unidentified small city in the 1930s Depression-era Midwestern United States and starring Fred MacMurray in one of his final film appearances and his last movie for Disney. The film, directed by Vincent McEveety, is based on The Golden Evenings of Summer, a 1971 novel written by Will Stanton.

Plot

Charley Appleby is a hardware store owner whose frugality and commitment to his job have enabled his family to avoid poverty during the Great Depression and Prohibition. However, his relationship with his children and wife Nettie (Cloris Leachman) is strained. They especially want to go to see the Chicago World's Fair. His growing sons Willie and Rupert (Vincent Van Patten and Scott Kolden) manage to find work in a junkyard owned by a man named Felix with ties to bootleggers, and his teenage daughter Leonora (Kathleen Cody) decides to elope with a young man named Ray (Kurt Russell), who seems untrustworthy.

Charley is visited by a shabby-looking angel (George Lindsey). Business tightens, and Charley is running out of time and money.

However, Charley becomes an unlikely hero. His boys begin using a rickety Model T, unknowingly delivering illegal booze by Felix's request, and they are kidnapped and forced to drive away when the Chicago gangsters responsible for the operation are trying to flee the city. Charley personally chases them in the abandoned gangsters' car, dodging gunfire, and the police catch him presuming he is the criminal. While in prison, Roy tells Charley that today will probably be his last day on Earth. However, Charley's thoughts are still of his boys.

When he returns home in the evening, Leonora and Ray return for an untimely visit just as the gangsters occupy his house and intend to take Charley's wife as another hostage. Charley defies them and defends his wife and kids with his own life. The fight ends when Charley and Ray, with the assistance of a timely appearance by Pete, succeed in defeating the gangsters and delivering them to the police. In the course of the fight, Charley was shot at point-blank range but miraculously receives no wound.

For capturing the criminals, Charley receives a $5000 reward posted by Chicago's police department. Ernie appears as a representative of the town to honor Charley as a town hero and present him with a hotel reservation and tickets to the World's Fair. He also informs them that the bank examiner has approved the bank's credibility and that it will be reopening tomorrow. Pete has also returned to repay his debt.

Charley, satisfied with the turn of events in his final day, says goodbye to his family and expects that he will still die, but Roy appears and reveals that the eleventh-hour decision in Heaven was to let Charley live. Roy physically intervened and pulled the bullet from the air, thus nullifying the prophecy and clarifying to Charley that he will live on, with an enriched outlook.

Cast



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