An Episcopal Bishop, Henry Brougham, has been working for months on the plans for an elaborate new cathedral which he hopes will be paid for primarily by a wealthy, stubborn widow. He is losing sight of his family and of why he became a churchman in the first place. Enter Dudley, an angel sent to help him. Dudley does help everyone he meets, but not necessarily in the way they would have preferred. With the exception of Henry, everyone loves him, but Henry begins to believe that Dudley is there to replace him, both at work and in his family's affections, as Christmas approaches.
This is one of those wonderful Christmas films that you can watch at any time of the year and still feel a certain feeling of satisfaction afterwards. David Niven is the Bishop who is struggling to get wealthy widow "Mrs. Hamilton" (Gladys Cooper) to fund a new cathedral - without, that is, her putting her late husband's face on the stained glass windows! He prays for guidance and it duly arrives; in the guise of Cary Grant ("Dudley") who quite determinedly, and mischievously, tries to help the Bishop not just with his new church, but with his priorities in general - especially towards his wife "Julia" (Loretta Young) and their daughter. Peppered with some characterful appearances from Elsa Lanchester as their maid, James Gleason as the skating cabbie and Monty Woolley as the professor with the never ending bottle; this is fun yet poignant. It has a sort of spirit to it; of kindness, consideration and Henry Koster gets the best from this whole cast as he builds it all gently to a suitable seasonal conclusion.