Boxer Joe Pendleton, flying to his next fight, crashes…because a Heavenly Messenger, new on the job, snatched Joe’s spirit prematurely from his body. Before the matter can be rectified, Joe’s body is cremated; so the celestial Mr. Jordan grants him the use of the body of wealthy Bruce Farnsworth, who’s just been murdered by his wife. Joe tries to remake Farnsworth’s unworthy life in his own clean-cut image, but then falls in love; and what about that murderous wife?
Up-and-coming pugilist Joe Pendleton (Robert Montgomery) is up for the fight that will put him on the top. On the way to New York Joe insists on flying his own plane with his lucky saxophone under his arm, even though his manager Max Corkle (James Gleason) asks him not to. On the way Joe plays on his good luck charm, a tenor Saxophone, the only song he knows, "The Last Rose of Summer" poorly, and crashes. He dies and an angel, Messenger 7013 (Edward Everett Horton) brings him to Heaven, but it is discovered by head angel Mr. Jordan (Claude Rains) that Joe was taken too early and still has 50 years left before his final journey. A world-wide search begins for a suitable "specimen" for Joe to inhabit and they discover that a banker named Bruce Farnsworth is being murdered by his wife and personal secretary. When Mr. Jordan puts Joe into Farnsworth he doesn't die, but Joe doesn't want the body, that is until he meets Bette Logan (Evelyn Keyes) whose father Farnsworth has implicated and had jailed in a stock-selling scandal. Joe falls in love with Bette and decides to take on Farnsworth's identity long enough to pay off the investors and get Bette's father released. Joe decides that he can use Farnsworth's body to build up and get back into the fight game, and calls on Max to help. Max needs convincing but eventually sees through the outward appearance to the true nature of Joe underneath and gets him a bout with the top fighter, which could put Joe as Farnsworth on top of the fight game again. Before he can get to the fight he is shot by his personal secretary, but Mr. Jordan whisks him off to the boxing arena in time to take the body of boxer Ralph Murdoch who is shot by his manager for not throwing the fight. Bette Logan shows up at the end of the fight and can see into Murdock's soul that he is the spirit of Joe. Max can see the truth too and they all begin their lives together again in the fight game.