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Lady for a Day

Lady for a Day(1933)

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Apple Annie, a cantankerous fruit peddler in New York, is patronized by Dave the Dude, a gambling gangster who believes that her apples bring him good luck. Unknown to anyone, Annie has a daughter, Louise, who is in a Spanish convent. With the aid of Oscar, the doorman at the Hotel Marberry, Annie has been sending letters to Louise on the hotel's stationery, thereby leading the girl to believe her mother is a high society matron named Mrs. E. Worthington Manville. Annie's crisis begins when she discovers that Louise is coming to New York so that her fiancé Carlos, and his father, Count Romero, can meet her. Meanwhile, Happy McGuire, Dave's right-hand man, and Dave are searching for the missing Annie when Annie's beggar friends arrive at Dave's apartment, relating Annie's tale of woe. After checking on Annie in her apartment, where he sees a photograph of Louise, Dave is asked by Annie's friends to help rent an apartment at the Marberry for Annie with the money they raised. Dave declines, but Happy soon finds him at the Marberry, where he is installing Annie in a borrowed apartment. Dave's paramour, nightclub owner Missouri Martin, helps transform Annie into the image of a proper society matron. Satisfied with the results, the men try to leave, but Missouri reminds them that Annie needs a husband. Dave suggests Judge Henry D. Blake, a smooth-talking pool hustler, who readily agrees to pose as Judge Manville after seeing the newly beautified Annie. Soon, Annie and the others greet Louise's ship, and Annie has a tearful reunion with her daughter. As Blake steers the company to waiting cars, Happy temporarily kidnaps a snoopy reporter, while the rest of the gang start a fight to distract the police from Dave's presence. After three happy days, the visitors are delighted when Blake announces, in front of Dave, that he and Annie will host a reception for them on the night they leave for Spain. Dave is disgruntled but promises to help, and after kidnapping three more insistent reporters, he begins planning the reception. Blake suggests that Dave's "mugs" and Missouri's "girls" pretend they are society swells and he writes speeches for them while Dave rehearses their manners. The next morning, police inspector MacCreary chastises his captain for not finding the missing reporters, and is reprimanded himself by the inspector, who in turn gets it from the commissioner, who is threatened by the mayor, and they all vow to fire their subordinates if the problem is not resolved. To further complicate matters, the first reporter Happy kidnapped comes in and implicates Dave. Later, on the night of the reception, the police surround Missouri's club, where the gang has assembled for a final rehearsal. Meanwhile, at Annie's apartment, Blake bets the count double or nothing on a game of billiards for Louise's dowry. Blake wins, but his jubilation sours when Dave calls to inform him that they are trapped at the club. Annie overhears the conversation, despairs and goes to confess to the count. MacCreary, meanwhile, arrests Dave, but Dave threatens that the reporters will never be seen again if he cannot carry out the night's plans. MacCreary then takes Dave to the mayor, who is hosting a party for the governor. Dave explains the situation and just as Annie is about to tell the count, Carlos and Louise the truth, the governor, the mayor and their guests arrive, pretending to be Annie's guests. The reception is a success, ending with the governor giving the visitors a police escort to their ship. On the way, each superior tells his subordinate that all is well, and the returned reporters are instructed to say that they were out on a drunk, thereby absolving Dave and preserving Annie's charade.