Based on Garson Kanin’s play, a millionaire seeking a favor from Congress hires a reporter to tutor the chorus girl he has made his partner.
Bullying Harry Brock (Broderick Crawford) rents several suites in a Washington hotel. Reporter Paul Verrall (William Holden) interviews him. Harry made millions in junk. He gives orders to Billie Dawn (Judy Holliday), his advisor Jim Devery (Howard St. John), and Eddie (Frank Otto). Congressman Norval Hedges (Larry Oliver) and his wife come in. Harry wants scrap iron. Jim advises Harry to marry Billie so she can’t testify against him. Harry asks Paul to teach Billie for $200 a week. She wants to talk better. Paul leaves to get books for her. Harry and Billie play gin, and she wins. Paul gives Billie newspapers and books to read, and they kiss.
The next day Paul finds Billie in bed reading, and he takes her to the capitol. On a bench he explains his article to her. After attending a concert, Billie says that her father disapproved of her going away with Harry. Paul says that Harry is selfish. Paul says that he would rather be a peasant than Napoleon. Billie tells Paul that she is mixed up in her head. Harry argues with Paul. Harry tells Billie that she is a silent partner and to shut up. Norval and Jim tell Harry that more money is needed. Billie talks with Norval about Congress and resents how Harry is treating him. Jim tells Billie to sign the papers. She learns they are mergers and says she is against cartels and wants to study them. Billie tells Harry that Jim is not happy. She says there is a better life. They quarrel. She refuses to sign, and Harry slaps her. She cries as she signs, and she calls him a fascist. Harry tells Jim that he loves her. Billie asks Harry to drop dead and goes to the Jefferson memorial. She calls Paul.
At 11:30 p.m. Harry is worried about Billie and has Eddie looking for her. She tells Paul that she is going away. He suggests they get married, but she says no. He kisses her. Paul says goodnight to Harry. Billie refuses to marry Harry because he is too dumb. She says she is leaving. Billie tells Harry and Jim that Paul took the papers. Paul comes back, and Harry demands the papers. Paul says he mailed them. Harry tries to strangle Paul, and Jim stops him. Paul turns down $100,000. Billie says she will sign them back to Harry if he behaves himself. Billie leaves with Paul. Jim toasts those who fight for justice. In the final scene Paul and Billie have a marriage license.
This comedy satirizes the corruption of Washington politics that allows wealthy businessmen to buy favors from Congressmen while showing that an ignorant woman is not necessarily stupid as she learns quickly that Harry is a foolish crook.