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Lady with a Past

Lady with a Past(1932)

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After a fashionable New York party, drunken socialite Donnie Wainwright convinces Venice Muir, a shy, intelligent heiress, to elope with him to Paris, then leaves with another woman before his Europe-bound ship departs. Determined to become the charming flirt she believes Donnie desires, Venice sails to Paris alone and hires Guy Bryson, a broke, unemployed American, to be her "gigolo." By inventing gossip about Venice's romantic past and strategically introducing her to a number of eligible bachelors, Guy quickly transforms Venice into the most desirable woman in Paris. When Donnie arrives in the city for a short business trip, he is shocked by Venice's entourage of admirers, which includes Rene, the Viscomte de La Thenardier. On Guy's advice, Venice teases the dumbfounded, jealous Donnie with calculated indifference and flirts openly with her other suitors. Then, on the night that Donnie is to leave Paris, Rene, who is heavily in debt to a married woman, proposes to Venice during a lavish party. Venice gracefully rejects Rene and accompanies Donnie to the train station. Just before his train pulls away, Donnie also proposes to Venice, but she is distracted by the arrival of Guy, who informs her that Rene has committed suicide. Although Venice knows that Rene's death was related to his bankruptcy, the newspapers report that the viscomte killed himself because of her rejection, and Venice's reputation as a femme fatale blossoms. Depressed, Venice sails back to New York with Guy and is greeted by newspaper headlines announcing that Guy's wife is suing her for alienation of affection. After saying goodbye to her "gigolo," Venice attends another party, where she is sought after by every man except Donnie, who now rejects her because of her supposed indiscretions. Furious at Donnie's hypocrisy and lack of faith, Venice spurns him, but eventually accepts his apologies and his proposal.