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After a triumphant assignment in war-torn Morocco, flamboyant, unethical Chicago-based newspaper reporter Buckley Joyce Thomas asks his publisher, J. H. Stevens, to send him to the Soviet Union. Anxious that Buckley be far away from his impressionable young mistress, gold digger Dolly Winslow, Stevens agrees to the assignment and reminds Buckley that the last reporter who became entangled with Dolly ended up with no job. Thus warned, Buckley, who is already involved with Dolly, sends his devoted assistant, Lefty Williams, ahead to Moscow to secure a hotel suite and hire a interpreter to find a peasant, a worker and a modern woman to interview. Using his newspaper's money, Lefty outbids Buckley's more ethical rival, Englishman Pettingwaite, out of both his hotel suite and his industrious interpreter, Kostya. While Kostya is locating Buckley's interview subjects, Buckley arrives at the hotel and is soon joined by Kate Nelson, a British reporter and former lover. Although still in love with Buckley, Kate agrees to "look out for" Dolly, who has snuck out of Paris to be near Buckley and to "cultivate" her voice. At the same time, Kate meets Eugenie Smirnova, another of Buckley's romantic conquests, who comes to the hotel with her husband-of-convenience, Prince Alexander Tomofsky, the last Romanoff in Russia. After noting that Alexander's story has human interest value, Buckley interviews Kostya's peasant, worker and modern woman. The worker, Sozanoff, declares that he is the new revolutionary leader of Russia and confides in Buckley that he led a group of students in a failed takeover of a radio station. Describing Sozanoff's actions as inconsequential, Buckley tells the fanatical leader that if he wants publicity he must bomb the Krelim or attempt an assassination. After dismissing Sozanoff, Buckley goes with Kostya to see the Commissar, the head of the Soviet secret service, who has never been interviewed by an American. While Kostya confers with the Commissar, Buckley observes Sozanoff's students being executed by a firing squad and then learns that the Commissar has refused his interview. Buckley next discovers that Pettingwaite, who has threatened to reveal Dolly's whereabouts to Stevens, was awarded the only executive pass to a military parade over which Joseph Stalin is presiding. Just before the parade, however, Lefty pickpockets Pettingwaite's pass, and Buckley impersonates his rival to obtain a seat next to Stalin. When Buckley returns to the hotel with his exclusive interview, he learns that Stevens has fired him for "conduct unbecoming to a gentleman." Desperate to regain his position, Buckley asks Kate to marry him as a publicity stunt, but she denounces him as a corrupt fraud and abandons him. Buckley then hears that a bored Dolly is returning to Paris and, finding himself suddenly alone, contemplates suicide. Instead of shooting himself, Buckley comes up with a phony assassination idea in which Lefty is to shoot and wound Prince Alexander while he is sitting in Buckley's hotel suite. Buckley's plan goes awry, however, when Kostya appears with the Commissar, who has decided at Kostya's urgings to grant Buckley his interview. After ordering the prince to leave, the Commissar sits in the marked chair, and unable to signal to Lefty, Buckley ends up taking one of the bullets meant for the prince's shoulder. Although at first hailed as a hero, Buckley and Lefty come under suspicion when the Commissar's men find a telegram in the suite announcing the assassination of the prince. The two Americans are arrested and thrown in prison, where they discover Sozanoff in a neighboring cell. When the raving Sozanoff says that he is to be executed the next day, Buckley convinces him to confess to the assassination attempt and earn publicity for his cause. After Buckley learns that Sozanoff actually had not yet been condemned, he persuades the Commissar to spare the madman's life, while securing his own release. Buckley's clever manueverings earn him a higher-paying job on Stevens' newspaper, and after he swears that he will reform as a reporter, Buckley's sincere marriage proposal is accepted by Kate.