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St. Martin's Lane

St. Martin's Lane(1938)

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Remind Me

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Charles Staggers, a middle-aged London street entertainer, or "busker," who performs for pennies from queueing Piccadilly theatergoers, befriends Libby, a runaway orphan and would-be dancer, when she steals the gold cigarette case of successful song writer Harley Prentiss. After finding Libby hiding in a deserted house, Charles takes her in, and they form a quartet with buskers Arthur Smith and Gentry. After Charles returns the cigarette case, Prentiss visits to give him a reward, and Libby insists Prentiss interview her, introducing herself as "Liberty," an aspiring actress. Seeing their act later on the streets, Prentiss hires Charles and Libby to perform at a dinner party. After arguing with Charles about the foolishness of busking, Libby goes to Prentiss' party alone. At the party, a theatrical agent promises to sponsor Libby, and Prentiss takes her home and kisses her. Charles, who has been waiting up all night for Libby, demands an explanation, and Libby tells him that she has a new career on the stage. Charles, in a jealous tirade, tells Libby he wants to marry her, but she rebuffs him in horror, calling him a "looney" and telling him to "take a look in the frying pan." With both his manhood and his profession humiliated, Charles takes to drink and abandons Arthur and Gentry, while Libby becomes a stage star and Prentiss' girl friend. Their paths cross once more following the premiere of her show, "Straw Hats in the Rain." Outside the stage door, Libby is surrounded by crowds seeking her autograph, and the drunken Charles, fighting the throng to get to Libby, is arrested for insubordination and is sentenced to four months in prison. After winning a Hollywood contract, Libby asks Prentiss to marry her, but he refuses, stating that he does not want to be discarded later like Charles. When Charles gets out of prison, he poses as a blind beggar, and one day, Libby, wearing a mink coat, recognizes him. Remorseful of her treatment of Charles, Libby apologizes and gets him an audition for a part in her new show. Charles earnestly recites his old monologue of Rudyard Kipling's "If" but is rudely interrupted by Libby's agents and producers and loses his dramatic momentum. Resigning himself to a life of busking, Charles asks Libby for her autograph, bringing her to tears, then joins Arthur and Gentry.