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Beg Borrow or Steal

Beg Borrow or Steal(1937)

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Fifteen years after tourist shill Ingraham Steward has left his wife Agatha and daughter Joyce, he learns that Joyce is about to marry the wealthy Horace Miller. Although Ingraham has faithfully sent his family money and letters over the years, they know little about his life and think that he is a successful art dealer in Paris. Hoping to give Joyce a chance at a good marriage, Ingraham cables them that he wants the wedding to take place in his "chateau," but is distraught when they take him up on the offer. Desperate, Ingraham goes to a large chateau and convinces the caretaker, American Bill Cherau, to help him. When the social climbing Millers arrive with Joyce and Agatha, they are very impressed by Ingraham's aristocratic friends, all of whom are really fellow conmen, and one of whom, Clifton Summit, is an escaped convict. While Bill, who is attracted to Joyce, tries to convince her that the stodgy Horace is not for her, some of Ingraham's friends case the chateau and try to con the Millers. Ingraham successfully appeals to his friends' better natures, but Bill continues his pursuit of Joyce and proposes. Meanwhile, Lord Nigel Braemer, who actually owns the chateau, decides he is miserable bird hunting in Scotland and returns home. Bill, actually the Count de Cherau, reveals the sham to his friend Braemer, who decides that it would be fun to help by pretending to be himself. Braemer is so enthusiastic, in fact, Ingraham warns the "phony" Braemer not to overdo his part. On the day of Joyce's wedding, she finally agrees to marry Bill instead of Horace, but when Bill goes to tell Ingraham, he finds that one of Ingraham's former "clients" is there with the police, demanding his money back. Bill gives one of the chateau's paintings as a replacement, but Joyce overhears and secretly decides to go through with the wedding as planned for Ingraham's sake. When Bill finds out, he tells Ingraham, who tries to help, but just then a detective arrests Bill, thinking he is Summit. As the wedding ceremony begins, Ingraham tells everyone the truth about himself and the Millers walk out, but Joyce and Agatha are proud of him. Finally free, Joyce agrees to marry Bill, who is then revealed as the Count de Cherau, and Ingraham and his cronies are invited by Breamer to stay with him at the chateau.