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Four's a Crowd

(1938 b 92')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A reporter turns to a p. r. man to save her newspaper while he seeks to gain a wealthy client with humorous romantic complications.

Reporter Jean Christy (Rosalind Russell) learns that her newspaper folded and tells publisher Pat Buckley (Patric Knowles) they need former editor Robert Lansford (Errol Flynn), who does public relations for capitalists. Jean asks Lansford for help and says that Lorri Dillingwell (Olivia de Havilland) is her rival for Buckley. So Lansford and Jean join Buckley and Lorri at a nightclub. Lansford takes Lorri home after talking all night, but her grandfather John P. Dillingwell (Walter Connolly) sends his dogs after him.

Lansford offers to work for Buckley and exposes Dillingwell to make people hate him. Lorri hits Buckley, who fires Lansford for lying to her. Lansford climbs over a fence and helps save Dillingwell's toy train. Lansford offers stream-lined trains and is allowed to stay. Lansford steals butter and evades night-watchmen by entering Lorri's room, saying he loves her. After hiding under the bed, he kisses her. Dillingwell and Lansford race their trains, but butter on the track helps Lansford win fifteen minutes with Dillingwell. Lorri tells her grandfather she is marrying Lansford, who says he can't because Dillingwell is hated. Dillingwell discovers butter on the track and shakes Lansford's hand. Dillingwell agrees to give a million secretly. Jean arrives, and Lorri invites her to swim. Lansford tells Lorri that he has to get Jean off the scent by courting her. Lansford tells Jean he won't marry Lorri. Buckley calls Dillingwell to accuse Lansford of making him hated. Jean admits that she loves Lansford, who says he loves her too. Dillingwell and Lorri see Lansford kissing Jean and make him leave with dogs chasing.

Dillingwell calls on Lansford and asks him to make him a saint. Lansford gets calls from Lorri and Jean, using two phones to juggle them. Lansford buys Buckley's newspaper property as Brown. Buckley learns his lot was sold, and Jean goes to find Brown. Lansford gets rid of Lorri before Jean comes in and asks who Brown is. Jean calls Buckley to publish the Brown hoax of a Harlem shoe-shiner. Jean follows Lansford and learns he is giving money to a clinic. Dillingwell and Lorri complain to Lansford about the hoax story. Lansford asks Jean to kill her clinic story so that needed charity won't stop. He says that she could marry Buckley, who asks her to marry in order to get the story. Buckley calls Lorri and learns that she is engaged. Buckley calls a judge, and Lansford calls Lorri to get wed. On the road Buckley and Lansford agree to a double wedding; but before the judge (Hugh Herbert) Buckley decides to marry Lorri, and Lansford weds Jean. In the final scene Dillingwell has his dogs chase them as they leave.

This madcap comedy satirizes how publicity is used by capitalists and those selling their promotion skills, though underlying are the benefits of philanthropy.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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