THE SPIRIT IS WILLING
During this period, William Castle varied from his usually more straight-faced horror fare to make this ghost comedy. The Spirit is Willing feels like a comedy that should have been made in the late 1930s, around the time of films like The Ghost Goes West (1936), Topper (1937) and The Cat and the Canary (1939). It is a none particularly riotous affair, with Castle rambling with an amiable looseness over a series of repetitive gags. The opening is a tongue-in-cheek grisly rondeaux of axes in the back, which seems a promising farce parodying Castles usual fare B horror fare, but this is something that the rest of the film never holds up to.
Sid Caesar coasts through the show with an expression of smug amusement and Barry Gordon delivers a performance of considerable obnoxiousness. Jill Townsend is likable in three different roles as the murdered ghost maid, a modern descendent and her sister. Things are certainly helped along at times by a jaunty score.
William Castles other films of genre note as producer-director are: as director of Crime Doctors Manhunt (1945), the sixth in a series of Columbia crime thrillers, of which Castle directed several, featuring a forensicologist against a split-personalitied killer; the psycho-thriller Macabre (1958); House on Haunted Hill (1959); the classic The Tingler (1959), probably Castles best film; the haunted house film 13 Ghosts (1960); the psycho-thriller Homicidal (1961); Mr. Sardonicus (1961) about a man with his face caught in a grotesque frozen smile; the juvenile comedy Zotz! (1962) about a magical coin; the remake of The Old Dark House (1963) for Hammer; the Grand Guignol psycho-thriller Strait-Jacket (1964) with Joan Crawford; The Night Walker (1965), a psycho-thriller about a dream lover; the prank phonecall psycho-thriller I Saw What You Did (1965); the psycho-thriller Lets Kill Uncle (1965); the reality-bending sf film Project X (1968); as producer of the classic occult film Rosemarys Baby (1968); as producer of the anthology series Ghost Story (1972-3); Shanks (1974) with Marcel Marceau as a puppeteer who can resurrect the dead; and as producer of the firestarting insect film Bug! (1975).
Film online in several parts beginning here:-