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First Lady

(1937 b 83')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Based on a play by George S. Kaufman and Katharine Dayton, a Washington wife manipulates behind the scenes to be first lady instead of her rival.

Lucy Chase-Wayne (Kay Francis) hears Senator Gordon Keane (Victor Jory) speak and goes home for a party. She wants her husband Stephen Wayne (Preston Foster), who is Secretary of State, to be President. Stephen asks Lucy to be kind to Irene even though she resents her having taken their chef. Louisa Mae Greevey (Louise Fazenda) represents five million women, and Lucy welcomes her. Emmy Page (Anita Louise) meets Keane. Lucy's grandfather was President, and she helped Keane with his speech. Irene Hibbard (Verree Teasdale) comes in and praises Stephen but leaves with Keane, making Lucy angry. Belle Hardwick (Marjorie Rambeau) tells Lucy that Keane may be President and Irene first lady. Lucy tells Sophie (Marjorie Gateson) they must make Irene believe that her present husband will be President. Lucy arranges to lunch with Mrs. Greevey.

Irene is bored with her husband Carter Hibbard (Walter Connolly) as he listens to the radio, and she tells him that she is leaving him. He blames Keane and agrees to divorce. At lunch with Mrs. Greevey and Mrs. Mason (Sara Haden) Lucy suggests they support Supreme Court Justice Carter Hibbard for President. George Mason (Henry O'Neill), Mrs. Mason, Mrs. Greevey, and chain newspaper owner Ellsworth T. Banning (Grant Mitchell) call on Carter and Irene Hibbard. Mason tells Carter they want him to be President; but he defers to his wife Irene, who agrees. Banning asks Irene to write a column on recipes.

Lucy tells Sophie that Irene believes her husband is Presidential timber. Keane tells Emmy about his agriculture bill. Banning invites Lucy to dine and tells her that Hibbard will be President. Senator Tom Hardwick (Eric Stanley) tells Lucy that they wanted Stephen, but women and Banning have put Hibbard over. Disappointed Lucy tells Stephen that he deserved it. Lucy talks to her grandfather's portrait.

Emmy tells Lucy that she is going to marry Keane. Stephen calls Lucy that he will be late because of a treaty, and she asks him to bring Prince Gregoravitch (Gregory Gaye). Lucy gives a dinner party and tells Mrs. Hardwick to leave Irene with her. Gregoravitch comes in and says Irene criticized American women, but their divorce will be legal in America when the treaty is signed. Irene takes Carter aside, and he announces he can't run because of his stomach. Sen. Hardwick recommends Stephen, because he has no stomach.

This story satirizes Washington politics that go on behind public notice and the role manipulative women can play.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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