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Personal Property

Personal Property(1937)

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Because the prestigious old London lingerie firm, Dabney Lingerie and Underwear, is broke, eldest son Claude Dabney is about to marry a wealthy American widow. Shortly before the marriage, Claude's younger brother Raymond comes home after being released from prison for buying and then selling a car without paying for it. Though his mother is happy to see him, his father and Claude are worried that his return will cause a scandal and end the marriage plans, so they demand that he leave England. That evening, Raymond attends a performance of Aïda and is seated next to Crystal Wetherby, whom he does not know is Claude's prospective wife. After the performance, Crystal quickly leaves, and Raymond, who is attracted to her, follows her home in a taxi. Outside the house, Raymond runs into Herbert Jenkins, a bailiff who represents Crystal's creditors. Like Claude, Crystal has been hoping to marry for money and does not suspect that her intended is broke. When Jenkins relates to Raymond that he would like to leave because his wife is having a baby, Raymond offers to take his place as the "man in possession," and will live inside the house to make certain that nothing is stolen. Once inside, Raymond is told by Crystal that her husband is upstairs. She then stomps around the house in boots, hoping that the noise will convince Raymond of her husband's presence, but the next morning Raymond learns from her maid, Clara, that Crystal is, indeed, a widow. Now completely infatuated with Crystal, he offers to help her by serving as her butler "Ferguson" during a dinner party for her future husband, his parents and some friends, and is shocked to see that her fiancé is Claude. The equally aghast Dabneys, who are surreptitiously told by Raymond that he is working as a butler to earn an honest living, will not acknowledge their son, then, while Raymond is out of the room, Claude tells Crystal that her butler has been in prison. Later, in the kitchen, Crystal begins to realize that she is attracted to Raymond and they fall in love. The next day, Claude offers Raymond five hundred pounds if he promises to leave England immediately, which Raymond accepts after having a quarrel with Crystal over her impending marriage. A short time later, Raymond pays all of Crystals debts, but, because she now owes him the money, he has Jenkins repossess all of her furniture just before her wedding to Claude is to take place. Raymond then tells Claude about Crystal's financial problems, after which Claude and all the guests leave. Crystal then goes down to the kitchen, and when she sees Raymond, they kiss.