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(1934 b 78')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A con man teams up with an artist and others to steal and sell the latest fashion ideas.

The investment company of Sherwood Nash (William Powell) is so broke they are removing the telephones and furniture. Lynn (Bette Davis) shows Nash her fashion drawings, and he gets an idea. Duryea (Henry O'Neill) sells an exclusive Paris dress for $378, but copies go for $16. Snap (Frank McHugh) unloads Duryea dresses and takes photos of them modeled until Duryea fires the driver. Nash tells Duryea and other owners he could get them the latest Paris fashions, and then he makes agreements with three companies. Nash, Lynn, and Snap board the ship. As they are about to sail, Glenda hits on Nash for $2,000, but Snap lifts it from her purse.

In Paris Snap secretly takes photos of dresses modeled at Baroque's; but they catch him with their hidden cameras and take his film. Nash buys an old book of costumes Lynn can sketch. Nash will add famous signatures to make them sell. Snap works as a chauffeur. Finally Nash and Lynn get $500 from Duryea in New York; but it soon goes for Snap's car payment. At a bar Nash learns that Joe Ward (Hugh Herbert) sells ostrich feathers. Nash finds his old friend Mabel (Verree Teasdale) from Hoboken posing as a duchess with Oscar Baroque (Reginald Owen). Ward has only $10,000; but Mabel helps Nash sell Ward's revue to Baroque for $75,000.

As the show rehearses, Lynn get jealous of Nash with Mabel, and Nash get jealous of Lynn with musician Jimmy. Nash presents the Duchess in the "Elegance Revue." She sings "Spin a Little Web of Dreams" with fan dancers, who are mostly undressed in a Busby Berkeley extravaganza. Baroque tells Ward to betray Nash; but Nash surprises Baroque by announcing the Maison Elegance to replace Baroque. Dresses based on historic robes are modeled. Baroque tells other owners that Nash is selling forged sketches in New York. Jimmy asks Lynn to marry him and go to Berlin, and Nash tells her that is a smart idea. Later Nash tells Lynn that the duchess is phony, but Mabel overhears. The police arrest Nash for fraud, and Lynn tells him she is leaving with Jimmy. Nash with the police goes to Baroque and Mabel, who just got married. Nash tells Mabel to call off Baroque and tells Baroque who Mabel is. Baroque withdraws the charges and buys out Nash. Nash gets in the cab with Lynn and takes her to the ship. When a man tells Nash he has crossed glow-worms with silk worms to making glowing garments, Lynn throws the worms overboard.

Deception and cheating are the basis of this comedy that satirizes the superficiality of the fashion industry.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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