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Tall Story

Tall Story(1960)

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At the beginning of the spring semester at Custer College, science professor Charles Osman explains to his new colleague, ethics professor Leon Sullivan, that alumni funds support their winning basketball team and thus support the college's academics as well. Soon after, home economics major June Ryder sideswipes the two men on her bicycle and then explains she has transferred to Custer for the sole purpose of marrying basketball star Ray Blent, adding that she hopes they will help her. Soon after at the gymnasium, the love-struck June finds Ray's jacket and follows him into the men's locker room to return it, but soon flees when she discovers a player emerging from the shower. Meanwhile Coach Sandy Hardy extols Ray's skill to a reporter, but Ray's scientific approach to making baskets bewilders him. Later, June attends both Charles's and Leon's classes and wrangles a seat next to Ray and a position as his lab partner. She easily seduces the studious Ray by speaking only of her intellectual interests and joins the pom pom team to show off her physique on the court. One day Ray and June's chemistry lab experiment explodes because of June's miscalculations, wounding them both and forcing them to publicly wear face bandages, a sign of their blossoming relationship. Days later, Ray, who drives a taxi in his free hours, takes June to Leon's house to baby-sit and, to Leon's chagrin, praises June's eagerness to learn, stating that the other female students are only interested in getting married. Leaving Ray there to help June study, Leon, Leon's wife Myra and Charles go to dinner at Mike's restaurant, where Leon complains that June is using his classroom as a "matrimonial agency." Meanwhile, Charles and Myra ask Mike, who has ties to a gambling ring, to place a bet that Custer will win the game against the world-famous Russians Sputniks. Late that night, June wonders what her and Ray's children would look like, couching the discussion in genetics terms, and then suggests a laboratory experiment to test the power of the Japanese belief that the most seductive kiss is one on the back of the neck. Flush with excitement from the first kiss, Ray wants a "basis for comparison" and kisses June on the lips. June then suggests they visit her newlywed friends Fred and Frieda Jensen, who live in a trailer that they wish to sell. After Fred gives them a tour of the cramped quarters, June and Ray squeeze into the shower compartment, where Ray proposes to her. Anxious to marry before the game, Ray and June ask to buy the trailer but are unable to come up with the required $1,500 to pay for it. Realizing that it will take up to a year before they can save enough money to be able to have a place of their own and thus will not be able to consummate their relationship until then, June cries that their position is comparable to that of elephants, who mate only every seven years. Later, a stranger contacts Ray on his taxi radio and offers the basketball player $4,000 to fix the game in the Sputniks' favor. Ray refuses but the stranger insists that he has no choice, as $1,500 is already in the taxi's glove compartment. A distraught Ray decides to flunk Leon's midterm exam, thus disqualifying himself from the game, and then lies to June that his uncle has given them the money. Despite the students' protests and college president Harmon Nagel's diplomatic tactics, Leon refuses to change his mind about Ray's failing grade. On the night of the big game, Ray finds the remaining bribe money in the glove compartment and takes it to Charles's house where he explains to June, Myra, Leon and Charles that because he had no way of giving back the money, he flunked Leon's exam deliberately, knowing the ethics professor would never give him the option for a make-up test, thus preventing Ray from playing. Realizing now that Custer will lose without him and he will still be accused of fixing the game, Ray begs for an oral exam. When Leon refuses, Ray pleads that even if he reveals the truth to the public and gives back the money, he will still be expelled. Seeking to return the money to the racketeer, Leon and Charles go to Mike's and approach two suspicious men whom they believe to be the culprits, but discover they are district attorney police officers searching for the gambling ring. Leon and Charles are promptly arrested on gambling charges and brought to the game where District Attorney Davis is watching the competition. Realizing that the Sputniks are ahead by six points, June suggests to Davis that he release the men on the condition that Leon give Ray an oral exam on the spot, explaining that Leon, just like Ray, "gave the appearance of doing something wrong" without actually having committed a crime. When Leon once again refuses, Charles calls him an "ethical snob," but Ray, far from being angry, plans to emulate Leon's ethical life. Realizing the limits of his own philosophy and not wishing to foist it on young Ray, Leon relents and gives Ray ten questions on ethics history. After Leon asks Ray to tell him "everything you know about Socrates" and Ray stumbles at the enormity of the task, June logically reminds Leon that Ray told him "everything he knows," even if it is only a small amount. When Ray is stumped by the definition for the categorical imperative, June whispers the answer in Ray's ear, prompting Leon into a tirade about June snaring the unsuspecting Ray into marriage by using him and Charles. Horrified that she has been revealed, June flees while Leon, guilt-ridden by his outburst, gives Ray a passing grade. The star player rushes into the game where he helps lead the team to a one-point victory. Despite the celebrations that evening, Ray is sullen because of June's manipulation, but Myra reassures him that even she had a "master plan" to ensnare Leon and then guides Ray to June's side. Meanwhile, after Davis suggests that they forget the whole incident, Leon and Charles promptly slip the bribe money into June's coat pocket to help the couple begin a new life. Finding the money, June claims it is from her aunt and the couple rush to marry and buy the trailer.