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Love on a Bet

(1936 b 77')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A would-be play producer bets his meat-packing uncle he can find a girl and get to Los Angeles in ten days to prove his play has merit.

Producer Michael MacCreigh (Gene Raymond) and his playwright have their play rejected by an investor even though they sneak into a business meeting. Michael goes to his Uncle Carlton (William Collier Sr.) at his meat-packing plant. To prove his play is realistic Michael bets him he can get to Los Angeles in ten days with $100, a new suit, and get a girl, starting from New York in his underwear. If he wins, he gets $16,000 for his play; if he loses, he has to work for his uncle.

At a party Paula (Wendy Barrie) tells her Aunt Charlotte (Helen Broderick) she will marry Jackson Wallace (Addison Randall). Michael arrives in his shorts, saying the invitation said "Don't dress." He manages to escape the police and take Jackson's tuxedo. This he trades to a homeless veteran for his uniform and a meal. Michael hitches a ride with Paula and Charlotte, and he gets a job at a hotel. Paula calls for another blanket. Michael lights a fire, puts on music, and summons Paula for a massage. He roasts marshmallows for her. Charlotte won't take him farther; but he tampers with the car engine, sells preserves he earned to Paula, and fixes the engine to become their chauffeur to Los Angeles. In Kansas Michael trades a cow for a new suit, gives Paula a ring, and they go to a fair. Charlotte wins the cider-drinking contest and sleeps while Michael drives at night. Paula dances with Michael and says she's going to China; he kisses her. Charlotte says Paula is marrying Jackson, and Paula says it's for money.

Two escaped convicts hijack their car. When two cops pass them, Michael speeds up and is hit in the head. Donovan says Michael is staying there; but he escapes and tampers with the engine again. Michael clubs Morton and fights with Donovan, who is knocked out by Charlotte. They tie them up. Paula tells Michael she wants to marry him. Michael sells the delayed reward to reporters for $100 cash; but Paula hears him call Carlton about getting a girl for a bet. Michael learns that the car was sold and that they took a plane. Michael is found in the plane's bathroom and is arrested. Carlton won't get Michael out of jail until 5 o'clock because of the bet; but Charlotte bails him out and takes him to Paula, who is marrying Jackson because she is angry at Michael. He tells her he just lost the bet, and she agrees to marry him even though he's poor. They learn it's not yet 5 and rush to meet Carlton, who gives him a check; but Paula rips it up so that Michael will go into the meat-packing business.

This Depression romantic comedy cleverly helps its audience appreciate the challenge of being poor, and the ultimate irony is that fortune-hunter Paula intends to make Michael take the meat-packing job instead of produce the play.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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