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Down Missouri Way

Down Missouri Way(1946)

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Jane Colwell, a professor at the Midland College Department of Agriculture, is baffled by the uncooperative behavior of her scientifically raised mule Shirley. Deciding that Shirley is homesick, Jane asks her assistant Mortimer to take Shirley back to her farm. Although Mortimer protests that Shirley is now college property, he looks forward to seeing his girl friend Cindy, who lives on the farm. At the farm, Mortimer discovers that Cindy and Pappy have rented the property to the crew of a movie starring temperamental actress Gloria Baxter and directed by the flamboyant Thorndyke "Thorny" P. Dunning. When producer Mike Burton arrives, Thorny informs him that he has been unable to find the mule he needs for the film. Mike's woes are compounded by Gloria, who is intensely infatuated with him. Jane then shows up and, irritated with all the hullabaloo, demands that Mike remove the crew from the farm. While they are talking, Thorny announces that Shirley is the perfect mule for the film. Because it is too expensive to leave the farm, Mike uses a ruse to convince Jane to let them stay. Although she immediately sees through his ploy, she is so amused that she agrees to let filming continue. Soon Jane has fallen in love with Mike, and Shirley has recovered her good nature. Gloria, however, is bored and jealous. At a sweet potato social, Jane sings a love song to Mike after Gloria refuses to sing. Later, Gloria interrupts Mike and Jane as they are kissing and tells Jane that Mike is only being nice to her because he needs her help with Shirley. Hurt and angry, Jane then announces that she is taking Shirley back to college. Thorny reminds her that she has signed a contract, but she replies that she does not have a contract with the filmmakers and Shirley will not work without her. In the midst of the quarrel, Jane's colleagues, Professors Shaw, Morris and Lewis, arrive at the farm to demand Shirley's return. To save the movie, Gloria first stuns the professors with her looks and then impresses them with her intelligence. After the professors give their consent to the movie, however, Shirley refuses to work. Jane reluctantly agrees to help, but to everyone's surprise, the mule remains uncooperative. Then one of the crew plays a recording of Jane happily singing a love song, and Shirley responds to the joy in her voice. Thorny can now shoot the final hayride scene, and during the filming, Mike and Jane are reconciled.