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An unemployed actor tries to save a young innocent from greedy relations.
The week before Christmas, New York business tycoon James C. Pidgeon is facing bankruptcy due to the extravagant spending of his wife Clara. At his office, J. C. is pestered by his jovial, good-for-nothing brother-in-law, Willie Crawford, but is cheered by a telegram from his son Reggie, who informs him that J. C.'s rich uncle is on his deathbed. Believing that his financial problems will soon be solved, J. C. accompanies Willie home, where Clara is supervising preparations for Christmas. Also at home is Therese, the Pidgeon's snobbish elder daughter, who is determined to make her unconventional family presentable for her socially prominent fiancé, Stephen Bates. Therese insists that the family take in a "charity case" for the holidays in order to impress Stephen. Reluctantly giving into Therese's whims, her parents bring home a charity case advertised in the newspaper as "Mr. M." The mystery man turns out to be Anthony Marchaund, a once-renowned actor who became a drunkard and handyman after being injured in an auto accident ten years earlier. Admonished by a newspaper official to be grateful, Marchaund charms the family with his polite, refined manners, although one afternoon he drinks too much and is hidden by the butler, MacFarland, until he recovers. While Marchaund is resting unseen on the couch, the family discovers that their eccentric uncle has died and left his five-million-dollar fortune to an actress whose performance as "Little Eva" in Uncle Tom's Cabin impressed him thirty years previously. Knowing only that the actress' last name is Watson and that she may live in New York, the uncle ordered that if she was not found, the inheritance would revert to J. C. Desperate for the money, J. C. persuades the estate's lawyer to conduct only a week-long search for the actress. Marchaund then makes his presence known and suggests contacting the Actors Equity Assocation for help. Fearing that Marchaund will try to blackmail them, the family promises to "take care" of him if he helps them, and he easily locates the actress, Florie Watson. Willie and Marchaund visit Florie, who is so broke that she accepts Willie's contrived story that she is their long-lost cousin with whom they wish to spend Christmas. Therese is furious that the family has complicated her Christmas plans with Stephen, but Angela, the younger daughter, is charmed by Florie's open, good-hearted nature. J. C. has no intention of telling Florie about her inheritance, and in order to keep her away from the increasing amount of publicity about the unusual will, the Pidgeons take her to one of J. C.'s rental properties in the country. Stating that it belonged to a deceased aunt, the Pidgeons take Stephen, Florie and Marchaund to the cabin, although the unhospitable conditions prompt the servants to quit. Florie takes charge of the cooking and housekeeping, and soon even Clara and Angela are enjoying their chores. Florie, who has fallen in love with Marchaund, urges him to quit drinking and return to the stage, but Marchaund demurs, insisting that he is a has-been. Two detectives, seeking to notify Florie about her inheritance, trace her to the cabin, but the Pidgeons and Marchaund dissuade them from searching the property. Later, as the family glumly sits around the fireplace on Christmas Eve, Marchaund's uneasy conscience prompts him to try to help Florie. Hoping to inspire the family to tell the truth, the drunken actor terrifies them with a stirring rendition of A Christmas Carol , then collapses. The Pidgeons, who have grown fond of Florie, are ashamed of their greed, and tell her about her inheritance. Florie is stunned, but forgives her friends for their deception, and the reformed Pidgeons enjoy the rest of the evening. The next morning, Florie tries to thank Marchaund, but instead finds a note in which he confesses his feelings for her, but contends that he must leave. Florie goes to the nearest bar and there finds Marchaund. She tells him that she is splitting the inheritance with the Pidgeons, and the happy couple laugh as they realize that they do not have enough cash to pay for their drinks.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1945||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Republic Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Republic Pictures Corp.|
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Wa Hoo The Cheaters on You Tube
Lovers of The Cheaters unite! We can watch the whole movie on You Tube...It is there! Appears to be from a UK release. I tested it out and works....
A great Christmas movie. Would become a Christmas classic if shown more. Hope it is on again sometime.
The Cheaters 1945
I saw this movie once on TCM and LOVED it. It should be an annual Christmas movie. I have looked for it on the schedule but have never seen it again. It...