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Don't Tell the Wife

(1937 b 63')

En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from George Holland's play, a group of crooks gets a wife to loan them money for a stock-selling scheme after meeting a Winthrop they find.

Major Manning (Thurston Hall) gets out of prison and is picked up by Horace (William Demarest), Lazarus (Guinn Williams), and Mike (Harry Taylor). Farmer Steve Dorsey (Lynne Overman) tells his wife Nancy (Una Merkel) that he will not buy stock; but the four men ask Steve for front money. Steve gets Nancy to loan them $50,000 if they are honest and she can meet a Winthrop. Horace finds one in Yonkers. They set up a business office, where Steve and Horace admire the financial ideas of Malcolm J. Winthrop (Guy Kibbee) and ask him to head their firm for $600 a week. Steve takes Nancy to meet Winthrop, and she questions him while he gets phony calls from a senator and the governor. Major warns his salesmen not to write anything down, and Steve puts them on phones. Steve tells Winthrop to make calls too, but Winthrop sends letters promising the stock will go up to ten.

Inspector Mallory (Frank M. Thomas) comes in with a letter from Winthrop. Lazarus calls Steve and tells secretary Ann (Lucille Ball) to stall Mallory, who warns Lazarus about fraud. Steve arrives, says to hide Winthrop and gets his list, telling Horace to get the letters back. Winthrop learns he is in trouble and wants to go to the police. Nancy comes in, and Winthrop says it is crooked. Nancy tells Steve she is leaving and preaches that they should not to steal from suckers. Nancy and Winthrop go to the police, but Winthrop decides to make amends honestly. Horace says he found the guy who turned in the letter and "greases" him. Winthrop says he is going to New Mexico to check out the mine. On a burro Winthrop visits Sam, who tells him where the gold is.

Winthrop keeps buying more shares for Nancy. Lazarus tells Mallory that Steve quit, and Mallory says the charges were withdrawn. Steve asks Nancy not to leave and says he quit the racket. Steve is called in though, because Lazarus gave Mallory a letter. Steve has them buy stock, while telling customers not to sell, to drive the price up to nine. Winthrop tells people on the street to buy Golden Dream Common and tells Steve that he bought 50,000 shares with Nancy's money. Everyone makes money except the crooks. Steve and Winthrop rush to catch Nancy at the boat and tell her that she is rich.

Claiming the Depression is over, the crooks' scheme only works because of the unlikely chance that gold is found; yet their antics are amusing while portraying the concerns of a wife for her wayward husband's tricks.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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