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The Good Old Soak

The Good Old Soak(1937)

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Clem Hawley, a kind but chronicly lazy man, is called "The Old Soak" by people in his Nassau County hometown because he also is a chronic drunk. His serious wife Matilda, who has tried her best to keep the family from bankruptcy, asks her cousin, banker Webster Parsons, what to do with some stock she has saved, and he advises her to keep it because it is almost worthless. Meanwhile, their son Clemmie, who has a good job in the city, but who has been playing the stock market to get money to court showgirl Ina Heath, goes to Webster for a loan. Webster agrees, but only if Clemmie "borrows" his mother's stock as collateral. Some time later, when daughter Lucy announces her engagement to the wealthy Tom Ogden, Matilda happily goes to her safe to obtain a family heirloom to give to Lucy and discovers that the stock certificates are gone. Matilda is certain that Clem has taken the stock to buy more liquor. She doesn't tell anyone of her suspicions, but soon begins to treat Clem very coldly. A few days later, a bewildered Clem meets a kindly peddlar named Kennedy who gives him a gift on credit for Matilda, but even that does not help, and Matilda finally accuses Clem of stealing her stock. Despite his denials, she does not believe him, and when he goes into Clemmie's room later and sees Ina's picture, he becomes suspicious. He then hitches a ride to New York on Kennedy's wagon and goes to the club where Ina performs. When he first goes to see Ina, she thinks that Clemmie's boasts about coming from a wealthy family are true and that Clem is pretending to be a "hick" to discourage her. When she realizes the truth she is furious, and when Clemmie arrives, she says that she never wants to see him again and angrily says that he should be giving money to his family instead of spending it on fur coats for her. Clemmie then confesses that he has been losing heavily on the stock market and may go to jail without money to cover his loses. Ina then gives him the coat and sends him away. When Clem finally confronts Clemmie about the stock, he reveals everything, but Clem knows that Matilda's heart would be broken if she learned what her beloved son had done. Clem blames himself for being a bad father and even convinces the supportive Lucy that he has stolen the stock, which is now worth $11,000. Clem says that he will leave, but as Matilda helps him pack, she sees their honeymoon picture in his suitcase and is reminded of how much she still loves him. She begs him to stay, but he refuses and remains silent about Clemmie. Just as Clem is about to leave, Webster calls the house and Clem arranges to meet him that evening. Meanwhile, Al, Clem's bootlegging friend, has told him that the sanctimonious Webster is really his secret partner and Clem arrives at Webster's office just as Al is leaving. Though Webster tries to pretend that Al is merely looking for a job, Clem confronts him about the bootlegging and about his secretly swindling Matilda out of her stock. When Clem threatens to kill Webster and make it look like suicide, Webster relents and gives Clem the entire $11,000 in cash. Clem then asks Kennedy to take the money to Matilda. Kennedy arrives at the house, just after Clemmie has confessed everything, and when the peddler reveals that Clem is taking the 10:57 train, they rush to the station in Kennedy's wagon and happily arrive in time to stop Clem from leaving town.