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The Lady Is Willing

The Lady Is Willing(1942)


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Remind Me

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When Broadway actress Elizabeth "Liza" Madden finds an abandoned baby in an apartment house, she impulsively decides to adopt the infant and takes it home. Liza then summons Corey T. McBain, a prominent pediatrician, to examine the foundling. When the doctor arrives, he shocks Liza by brusquely declaring that he detests all infants. After Liza announces her intention to adopt the baby, whom she names "Corey," her business manager, Kenneth Hanline, advises her to return the baby because the courts will never grant custody to a financially insolvent, unmarried woman. Although Liza maintains a lavish apartment, she has generously dispensed her earnings to friends and colleagues and hence has no money. Ken's dire prediction that Liza could spend her life behind bars for kidnapping threatens to come true when Sgt. Barnes of the New York police department and Mrs. Cummings of the child welfare bureau knock on Liza's door in search of the woman who spirited the baby from the apartment building. Although Liza tries to hide the infant from the authorities, her building manager inadvertently discloses Corey's presence by informing Liza that she has been granted permission to build a nursery in the adjoining apartment. Feeling sorry for the distraught Liza, Mrs. Cummings allows her to keep the infant until the next morning. Following Ken's advice, Liza decides to embark on a marriage of convenience in order to adopt Corey. That evening, when the baby develops a rash, Liza again sends for McBain, who is amused by her devotion to the infant. Afterward, when McBain confides that his true passion is research and that he became a baby doctor only for the monetary rewards, Liza relates her problems with the child welfare bureau and proposes a marriage of convenience. In exchange for a marriage certificate, Liza offers McBain her newly expanded apartment in which to raise rabbits for his research experiments, and he reluctantly accepts. After the wedding ceremony, McBain encounters his ex-wife Frances, who warns her successor about the doctor's obsession with rabbits. McBain abandons his medical practice to raise rabbits and bliss reigns in the household until one day, Joe and Nellie Quig appear, accompanied by their lawyer, K. K. Miller. Miller claims that the Quigs are Corey's real parents and offers to relinquish custody for $25,000, but McBain exposes the Quigs and their attorney as frauds. In celebration, McBain invites Liza to dinner and they end the evening with a passionate kiss. The next morning, the fortune-hunting Frances, having read about the $5,000 research grant awarded to McBain, visits him in his bedroom to ask for $500. When Liza discovers Frances in McBain's bed, she thinks that they are having an affair and angrily decides to close her show that night and move it to Boston. As Liza, her assistant Buddy, her maid Mary Lou and Myrtle, the nanny, scramble to prepare for their trip, the baby falls ill and Liza sends for the house physician to examine him. McBain becomes concerned when he sees the doctor enter the apartment, but Liza refuses to allow him to see the baby. Assured by the doctor that Corey has only a minor cold, Liza leaves for Boston with Corey and her entourage. Upon discovering that Corey has fallen seriously ill and is hospitalized in Boston, McBain books passage on the next flight. Meanwhile, in Boston, the doctors want to operate on the baby, but Liza withholds permission until she is able to contact McBain. After Liza's frantic calls to New York go unanswered, she paces the hospital corridor in anguish. When McBain finally appears, she flies into his arms, full of remorse. After examining Corey, McBain affirms the need for surgery, but is reluctant to perform the operation himself. When Liza begs McBain to operate and promises to love him no matter what the outcome, he consents. Hours after the surgery has been completed, the baby's condition remains unchanged, and McBain insists that Liza go on with her performance at the theater. At the finale, McBain appears in the wings with the good news that the baby will recover.