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Ladies of Washington

Ladies of Washington(1944)

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In Washington, D.C., Carol Northrup, a Spar recruiting officer, is pleasantly surprised to meet a childhood friend, Jerry Dailey, and offers to help when Jerry reveals that she has been evicted from her government housing after being fired from her job as secretary to steel magnate John Crane. Carol takes Jerry to a boardinghouse run by "Mother Henry," a patriotic man who has opened his home to help with the wartime housing shortage. Every room in the house is occupied by women working in various war effort jobs, but they cheerfully squeeze Jerry in, despite her aloof demeanor. Jerry, who was fired after Crane's wife discovered their affair, is infuriated when she calls Crane and his wife informs her that he chose her over Jerry. Hoping to gain her revenge by embroiling Crane in a scandal, Jerry pretends to take an overdose of sleeping pills, and Carol rushes her to the hospital where her boyfriend, Dr. Hugh Mayberry, works. While Jerry is tended to by young Dr. Stephen Craig, Hugh tells Carol that Jerry took only a few pills, and he plans to report the incident as an accident to keep Crane's name out of the newspaper. At first angry that her scheme has been thwarted, Jerry quickly warms up to Stephen, who readily accepts her trumped-up tales of woe. Jerry and Stephen begin dating, although she soon becomes attracted to the mysterious Michael Romanescue. Shortly after, Jerry abruptly breaks a date with Stephen, who forlornly tags along with Carol and Hugh as they explore Hugh's newly purchased houseboat. While with Romanescue, Jerry finally sees an opportunity to get back at Crane when Romanescue tells her that he supplies gossip to various columnists and needs some steel production figures for them. Although Jerry initially protests that the figures are a military secret, she sneaks Romanescue into Crane's office after he assures her that the information will not be used in a harmful manner. As they are leaving, however, a security guard spots them and exchanges gunfire with Romanescue. The guard dies and Jerry, in a panic, calls Stephen for help with Romanescue, who she says is her brother. Stephen operates on Romanescue at Hugh's houseboat, but the injured man dies. Persuaded by Jerry that she will go to jail if the police find out about the incident, Stephen takes the body to a cemetery and informs the police with an anonymous call. Stephen quits his job at the hospital and asks Jerry to leave with him, but she tells him to go ahead and send for her later. Meanwhile, the police have discovered that the dead man was operated on in Hugh's boat and hold the senior doctor for questioning. Hugh and Carol realize that Stephen must be responsible, but he cannot be found until at last he reads about Hugh's predicament and turns himself in to the police. Inspector Saunders reveals that Romanescue was a foreign agent and, realizing that Stephen is still trying to protect Jerry, brings her in for questioning. As Stephen listens in another room, Jerry proclaims her own innocence while implicating Stephen. After confessing all, Stephen is exonerated, and the mentally unstable Jerry is placed in a sanitorium after she suffers a nervous breakdown. Soon after, Hugh and Carol announce their engagement and the boardinghouse residents happily begin preparations for the wedding.