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Two Grooms for a Bride

Two Grooms for a Bride(1957)

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One evening, American oil tycoon Jeffrey Longstreet invites his fiancée, Lola Sinclair, to his apartment to test her devotion to him. Having also invited his friend and attorney, Howard Cadwell, on the pretense of discussing urgent business, Jeff takes Howard behind closed doors so his friend can loudly reprimand Jeff for spending $10,000 on Lola's engagement ring while his business ventures are failing. Jeff replies that Lola can support him with her own millions, prompting the eavesdropping Lola to leave without a goodbye. Jaded by a series of greedy girl friends, Jeff toasts with Howard to a future with the "right woman." Soon after, Jeff receives a telegram from the firm of Humbold, Humbold and MacCarthy, attorneys hired by his twin brother Tony, informing him that Tony, along with his wife, has been declared missing while on a Congo expedition. As the next of kin, Jeff is designated to care for Tony's four children and must fly to England immediately. Meanwhile, Mrs. Longstreet's sister, entomologist Dr. Laura Weeks, receives a similar telegram and informs her fiancé and colleague, Dr. Theodore Baker, that she must leave at once, despite Theodore's insistence that their work must always come first. After arriving in London, both Laura and Jeff board a train bound for the Longstreet home in Winchester and coincidentally choose the same cabin. The philandering Jeff's repeated attempts to attract Laura's attention are met with curt reserve. Upon arriving in Winchester, Laura refuses to share a cab with Jeff, but learns at the lawyer's office that Jeff is Tony's brother. As Jeff and Laura argue over custody of the children, Humbold warns them that the children will resent the arrangement and believe they are capable of looking after themselves. Arriving at the family mansion, Laura and Jeff meet the precocious children: eleven-year-old Tony, baby sister Susan and thirteen-year-old twins Big and Ra. Big has just fired the chef, but with the help of his siblings, prepares a three-course meal, during which the children blatantly suggest that Laura and Jeff should marry. Ra and Big's announcement that they have dates that evening prompts Laura and Jeff to attempt to educate the twins about the facts of life. The children, realizing the adults are uncomfortable and inept at discussing the topic, give them books about adolescent development. Days later, when the boys find a newspaper article about Jeff's upcoming marriage to Lola, he asks them to keep the information secret. Soon after, Howard phones Jeff to inform him that Lola is suing him for breach of promise. When Laura reaches for the newspaper, Jeff spills tea on it to prevent her from seeing it. Neighbor Emily Fogarty drops by with her diminutive husband Horace to show Laura the article, but the children, who have planned an ambush, knock the paper out of her hands while Jeff escorts them out. Suspecting foul play, Laura reads the article, but when Theodore, having also read the article, suggests Laura should leave the house, she calmly refuses. Meanwhile, the children, noticing Laura and Jeff's growing animosity, plan to unite them by inviting them play soccer and rugby. When Laura is subsequently injured and taken home, Jeff suggests a little brandy for "medical purposes." Laura reluctantly agrees and soon becomes drunk and flirtatious. After prudish Emily spies Jeff kissing Laura that night, she alerts lawyer MacCarthy, who arrives the next morning threatening to take the children away. Later, Humbold suggests that only a married couple should raise the children and promises to award custody to whomever marries first. Having learned that Laura has asked Theodore to marry her immediately, the children formulate a plan to disrupt the impending nuptials. Posting a quarantine sign on the front door, the children try to steer Theodore away, while they offer to help Jeff win Laura's heart, but Jeff refuses. Desperate, Jeff calls his long list of past lovers to find an eligible wife, but after several rejections resorts to calling Lola, who begrudgingly accepts. When Lola arrives the next morning, she is shocked to learn about the children and distraught over the baby soiling her dress. Meanwhile, Theodore suggests that the children be sent to boarding school. Finally realizing that he loves Laura, not Lola, Jeff accepts the children's help. Using Tony's notes on insects, Jeff asks Theodore to confirm a bet he has made regarding the age of a prehistoric insect. Jumping at the chance to prove his superiority, Theodore heads to the library for proof, leaving Laura alone with Jeff, who tells her that the children do not approve of either Lola or Theodore. Laura argues that, without a marriage, Humbold will separate the children and send them to boarding schools. Jeff professes his love, but a confused Laura asks for more time. Meanwhile, the children have filled Lola's cold cream jar with worms and planted a frog in her bed. Infuriated, Lola vows again to sue Jeff for breach of promise then agrees to a $20,000 settlement. When Laura witnesses Jeff kissing Lola goodbye, she assumes he is deceiving her and returns to Theodore. The next day, during Laura and Theodore's wedding, the children sabotage the ceremony by releasing a rare insect in the middle of the service. While Theodore uses the ring box to capture the specimen, Jeff openly objects to the marriage. After Theodore again insists the children should be sent to boarding schools, Jeff poses the choice of "motherhood" or "bughood" to Laura. As Laura agrees to marry him, Jeff grabs her and they speed away in his car, while Theodore continues to wrestle the bug box from the children. Soon after, Jeff and Laura spot a newspaper headline announcing the Longstreets' return from their expedition. When Jeff laments that the kids do not need him anymore, Laura replies that she does.