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Washington Melodrama

Washington Melodrama(1941)

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Washington industrialist Calvin Claymore leads a group that supports a Senate bill to send aide to war-torn Europe, but is opposed by isolationist Hal Thorne, whose Daily Tabloid newspaper and radio broadcast lobbies against the group. Because his wife and daughter Laurie, who is engaged to Hal, have been vacationing in South America for some time, the lonely Calvin agrees to accompany his friend, Senator Morton, to the Marigold Club. Calvin is too preoccupied to enjoy himself, even when he "hooks" entertainer Mary Morgan during a water ballet "fishing" act, but because Mary has been told by emcee Whitney King to get friendly with Calvin, she convinces him to take her home. She is impressed by his kind and gentlemanly demeanor, and when he asks to see her again, she agrees. For the next few weeks he escorts her to the sights of Washington, and the two develop such a close friendship that when Mrs. Calvin cables that she is returning, he is disappointed. Calvin then goes to Mary's apartment to say goodbye and tell her how much her companionship has meant to him. After he leaves, she finds an envelope containing a note and a large amount of cash. While she is writing a letter to return the money, King, who has been waiting outside, arrives and demands the money, but she tells him she sent it back. In a scuffle, King strikes her, causing her to die when she falls and hits her head. He then steals the money and note and leaves. After her murder is discovered, Logan, one of Hal's columnists, learns that an older man spent time with Mary, and Hal determines to find him. He then tells reporter Ronnie Colton to rent Mary's apartment and investigate. On the night that Mrs. Claymore and Laurie return, the butler tells Calvin that one of his gloves is missing, and concerned that it may be in Mary's apartment, Calvin burns the mate in the fireplace. As Laurie enters his study she smells the burning glove, but is too concerned with asking for her father's blessing on her marriage to Hal to notice. He reluctantly agrees, but when Hal shows him the evening edition of the Tab picturing Calvin and himself shaking hands, and already announcing the engagement, Calvin is angry because he fears his friends might think that he has changed his views. The next day, King goes to Calvin with a copy of the letter. He then coerces Calvin into co-signing a note for him to buy the Marigold by suggesting that the letter might cause his war relief bill to fail. Soon Ronnie reports to Hal that he found a man's glove in Mary's apartment. When Laurie, who is in Hal's office, hears that the glove was made in Rio de Janiero, she remembers her father's burning glove. She does not tell Hal, but instead goes home and talks to her father, who tells her everything. She is sure that Hal will kill the story for her, but it is too late. While Laurie develops a plan, Calvin goes to Hal with the truth. Although confident that he can be cleared of murder, they both know that the scandal would kill the bill. Calvin thinks that King killed Mary, but says he agreed to co-sign the loan to keep things quiet until after the bill passes. Meanwhile, because Hal can not leave his office, he tells Ronnie to escort Laurie to dinner, unaware that she wants to go to the Marigold. There she has him join in a ruse. Pretending that she is a French refugee, she flirts with King and is invited to his apartment, thus angering Teddy Carlyle, King's jealous girl friend. When Hal finds out from Ronnie what Laurie is up to, he rushes to the club, but she has already gone. After giving Laurie the key to his apartment and telling her that he will meet her, King inadvertently discovers her real identity. Hal then arrives at the club and gets Ronnie to find out where King is. Just as Laurie discovers the money and letter behind a painting, King arrives and starts to struggle with her. When Teddy arrives, she mistakes the struggle for lovemaking and decides to turn King in. As she dials District Attorney Donnelly's office, King shoots her, after which Hal and Ronnie arrive and knock him out. Later, Teddy regains consciousness and reveals what she knows about King just before she dies. With the scandal now averted, Calvin's bill passes, Mrs. Claymore decides that she will spend more time with her husband and Hal and Laurie make wedding plans.