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Paradise for Three

(1938 b 79')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Adapted from Erich Kaestner's novel, a wealthy businessman goes incognito on vacation with the unemployed winner of his soap contest, who falls for his daughter.

Unemployed Fritz Hagedorn (Robert Young) wins two weeks vacation in the Alps in the Tobler Soap contest. Housekeeper Mrs. Kunkel (Edna May Oliver) nags Rudolph Tobler (Frank Morgan), who tells butler Johann Kesselhut (Reginald Owen) that he won second prize in the soap contest as Edward Schultz and invites Johann to the Alps. On the train Fritz knocks down Hilde Tobler (Florence Rice) by mistake. Mrs. Kunkel calls hotel manager Mr. Bold (Sig Ruman) so that millionaire Tobler will get the best care; but Fritz is taken for the millionaire. Bold thinks that Edward Schultz is a tramp, and the porter Potter (Herman Bing) gives him the worst room. Fritz lets Schultz dine at his table and tells him he is unemployed, wants a job, and has good ideas. Schultz has Johann tell Fritz about Tobler. Irene Mallebre (Mary Astor) gets a thread attached to Fritz and dances with him. Schultz orders expensive brandy, and Potter makes him wash dishes. Dishwasher Sepp (Henry Hull) tells Schultz the rich are often fools. Schultz uses a machine that breaks dishes.

Irene goes to Fritz's room in her robe, pretending a mistake, and tells him she is divorced and lonely. Schultz comes in, and Irene learns that he is the rich Tobler. Mrs. Kunkel tells Hilde that she is going after Tobler, and Hilde joins her. Irene skis with Schultz, and Johann tells Mrs. Kunkel that Irene is after Tobler. Fritz sees Hilde skiing and follows her; but she won't say her name. Mrs. Kunkel has an accident skiing. At a costume party Schultz dances with Irene, and Fritz goes outside with Hilde, saying they live in different worlds because she is rich; but she says she is as poor as Schultz. Mrs. Kunkel tells Potter that Schultz is in Irene's room. While Irene takes off her dress, Tobler realizes she knows who he is. Potter comes in and tells Schultz to leave. In his cold room Tobler turns off the water and turns up the steam.

At work Tobler gives orders to find Fritz and to buy the hotel; but William Reichenbach (Walter Kingsford) tells him he owns the hotel. Bold, Potter, and Sepp come in, and Tobler fires Bold and Potter, making Sepp manager. Tobler tells Reichenbach to make Fritz advertising manager at 100,000 shillings a year. Tobler reads that Irene is suing for breach of promise. Fritz finds Hilde and says he has a job, asking her to marry. Lawyers tell Tobler that Irene demands five million; but Sepp gets himself caught in her room. Hilde takes Fritz home, where he learns that Schultz is Tobler. Fritz tries to leave and refuses to marry Hilde until she threatens to sue.

This comedy contrasts the gold-digging Irene with the poor Fritz falling in love with Hilde, not knowing she is rich, while the wealthy Tobler gets a new perspective.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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