There's something for everyone in this comedy. Charley and the Angel opens with a title telling us we're in "Midwest, USA, 1933," setting the stage for an everyman tale with a universal moral set against tough times, but the snappy music assures us we're not in for anything too heavy. There's comedy, embodied by Harry Morgan's droll angel, a dapper old guy with a heart of gold who doesn't look the part but can work a bit of otherworldly magic, thanks to some clunky '70s-era effects. There's drama, as we aren't sure of Charley's fate until the very end of the movie. There's suspense in the gangster plot, and there's a happy ending when Charley rediscovers his passion for life and his family gets their ideal dad/husband.
In a familiar stable of Disney actors, the versatile Morgan as the angel Roy shines especially bright. Displaying a childlike joy for what he's left behind in human life, roller skating and offering a leg-kicking dance while playing a tennis racket like a banjo, Morgan expertly delivers deadpan lines like "If your life has been as dull as this, you're probably glad it's over" and "Sorry, Charley." Some aspects of Charley could rub contemporary audiences the wrong way, like the total lack of diversity in this Midwest town, the over-the-top gangster scenario, or the outdated gender roles. Others could offer food for thought, like how inventive the kids are with their endless, tech-free afternoons.