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Higher and Higher

Higher and Higher(1943)

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Remind Me

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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When bankrupt millionaire Cyrus Drake receives notice that the bank intends to foreclose on his mortgage in thirty days and his wife and daughter decide to leave him, his valet, Michael O'Brien, a former entertainer, proposes that Millie, the scullery maid, pose as Drake's daughter Pamela to snag a millionaire. The members of Drake's staff, who have not been paid for seven months, concur and decide to pool their resources and form a corporation to catch Millie a rich husband. When Mike asks her if she has a boyfriend, Millie, to hide her infatuation with Mike, tells him about the boy across the street who sings to her. According to the plan, Millie is recast from scullery maid to debutante by Sandy Brooks, Drake's social secretary, who teaches her about proper etiquette and comportment. Instructed by Mike in the art of courtship, Millie questions her instructor about finding the right partner, and he answers that she'll know him when she hears "a click." Soon after, the boy next door, Frank Sinatra, comes to meet Millie, who is introduced to him as Pamela Drake. After apologizing for thinking that she was a member of the household staff, Frank sings her a song, causing Mike to worry that he may steal Millie's heart and their prospective fortune. When the local newspaper prints a story that Pamela and her mother are returning home from Switzerland, the corporation appoints Sandy to play the role of Mrs. Drake. Drawn by the newspaper article, Mrs. Georgia Keating, accompanied by her daughter Catherine, comes to visit her old friends the Drakes and check out Pamela, Catherine's competition for the title of "number one debutante." When Mrs. Keating learns that Pamela intends to sponsor the forthcoming Butler's Ball, she insures that Catherine is made a sponsor, also. At the ball, the corporation targets Catherine's escort, Sir Victor Fitzroy Victor, as their quarry, planning to bag their prey at Millie's coming out party. After escorting Millie to the dance floor, Mike tells her that she is to pursue Victor. Millie, who is still in love with Mike, tries to avoid the nobleman by unhooking her skirt and slipping it off on the dance floor. Rather than being horrified, however, Sir Victor is charmed and begins to court Millie. The next morning, Millie is scrubbing the stoop when Frank bicycles up to the house and presents her with a bouquet of flowers. Fearful that Frank will jeopardize their investment, Mike dismisses him and sends the flowers to Victor with a note from Pamela. At his hotel room, Victor is fending off the demands of the manager for payment of his bill when the flowers arrive. The phony nobleman assures the manager that he will have abundant funds after he marries the wealthy Pamela Drake. On the night of her coming out party, Millie asks Frank's advice about marriage and invites him to the festivities. When Mike sends her into the garden with Victor, Millie pairs Frank and Catherine together for their own walk in the garden. There, Victor proposes, but Millie refuses to accept, telling Mike that she is in love with someone else. When Mike discounts her feelings, Millie, dejected, returns to the party and announces her engagement to Victor. On the day of the wedding, the ceremony is delayed while Millie disappears into the attic to search for something borrowed and something blue. When Mike comes to look for her, the two dance a minuet together, and he decides to call off the wedding and dissolve the corporation. Mike is opposed by the other members of the corporation, who push him into a dumbwaiter and send it to the cellar. As Victor and Millie begin to exchange their vows, Mike pries open a ventilator shaft in the basement and announces that Pamela Drake is really Millie, the scullery maid, who is in love with someone other than her groom. Mike then falls against a secret panel and discovers a priceless wine cellar. Back upstairs, as the guests file out and reclaim their presents, the Keatings, accompanied by their maid Sarah, arrive late for the ceremony. When Sarah recognizes Victor as her old friend, Joe Brown, a crook, Drake and the other members of the corporation run downstairs. Mike shows them the wine cellar, which they then decide to turn into a cabaret. Mike, who has fallen in love with Millie, resigns from the corporation and leaves town because he believes that she is in love with Frank. While performing on the road, Mike receives an invitation announcing the marriage of Catherine Keating to Frank Sinatra at Drake's Amsterdam Tavern. Rushing back to the tavern, Mike confronts Frank about rejecting Millie and learns that Millie is not in love with Frank, but with him. Mike finds Millie in the kitchen, and after he announces that he has heard his "click," the two embrace and begin to dance.