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Business and Pleasure

Business and Pleasure(1932)

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Earl Tinker, a razor blade manufacturer from the Midwest, takes his wife and daughter Olivia on a pleasure cruise to the Middle East. Pleasure quickly turns into business when Earl finds W. H. White, the head of the Straightback Co., Earl's chief competitor, is on board the ship, plotting to discover the secret of Earl's financial success. Unknown to Earl, his rival has employed Madame Momora, an opportunist in disguise as a psychic, to learn of his business plans. In a fortune-telling session, Earl tells Momora of his plans to corner the Damascus steel market and push Straightback out of business. Meanwhile, Olivia has become romantically involved with Lawrence Ogle, a snobbish young playwright whose latest play closed in New York in financial disaster. Realizing that Olivia is Tinker's daughter, and having accidentally read a telegram revealing White's scheme, Ogle alerts Earl to the impending danger. Earl foils White's plans by disguising himself as the chief soothsayer and fooling Madame Momora into confessing her scheme with White. Unfortunately, before Earl can get out of costume, his wife, jealous of her husband's recent attentions to Mamora, arrives to have her fortune told. Although Earl puts on the act for her, she discovers his identity upon leaving, but keeps it to herself. After Earl reveals his identity to Madame Momora, she warns him about the dangers that await him in the desert near Damascus--dangers that she herself has planned for him. Momora follows Earl into the desert with a radio, which she uses to impress the Arabs and to persuade them to have Earl arrested and killed. While Earl is abducted and faces execution, Ogle and Olivia take Earl's wife into the desert to find Earl. Cleverly, Earl manages to escape and, after using Momora's radio to broadcast the news that the Tinker Company has bought out the Straightback Company, then convinces the Arabs to arrest Momora. At a desert meal, Mrs. Tinker learns that cous-cous is a food, not a code word for Earl's affair with Momora, and thus realizes that her husband was never unfaithful to her.