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The Lady Wants Mink

The Lady Wants Mink(1953)

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Jim Connors, a department store debt collector, scrapes together enough money to buy his wife Nora a camel hair coat for her birthday, and later learns that his next door neighbor, Harvey Jones, owner of a successful used car lot, has given his childless wife Gladys a mink coat. Although Nora admires Gladys' mink, she is happy and content with Jim and their two television-addicted children, Ritchie and Sandy. However, Jim compares himself to Harvey, who earns $25,000 a year, and feels unsuccessful. When his boss, Mr. Heggie, reprimands him for being too lenient with the deadbeat customers, Jim tries to get tough with wealthy and irresponsible Mrs. Cantrell. Claiming a personal friendship with the store's owner, Mr. Danfield, Mrs. Cantrell complains to Heggie, and Jim again finds himself in disfavor with his boss. Meanwhile, Gladys makes an offhand joke about growing her own mink coat, which inspires Nora to visit the mink farm of Mrs. Hoxie. Without first discussing it with Jim, Nora returns home with one male and two female minks and sets up their cages in the backyard. Although the presence of the minks, and the ducks that are used to guard them, lures Ritchie and Sandy away from the television set, the neighbors are not happy and someone alerts the zoning commissioner, who leaves after Nora convinces him that the mink raising is a hobby, not a business. Nora becomes involved with a breeders' association and Jim, misinterpreting her interest in prosperous mink breeder Bud Dunn as romantic, quarrels with her. Sleeping on the couch, Jim dreams that his double, calling himself Jim's "subconscious," arrives to take charge. The next day, as Heggie relates Danfield's order to go after Mrs. Cantrell for nonpayment of bills, Jim's "subconscious" takes over and torments Heggie into firing him. On the way home, Jim's car breaks down and Harvey comes to his rescue. After hearing about Jim's day, Harvey offers him a job as salesman at the car lot. However, Jim soon realizes he has no talent for sales and decides to look for another office job. Meanwhile, Nora, believing that Gladys called the zoning commissioner, quarrels with her over the uproar the minks have created in the neighborhood, and the couples' long friendship comes to an end. Then the Connors' landlady, Mrs. Frazier, shows up and evicts them, giving them thirty days to vacate. As Jim looks for a job, Nora looks for a house, and without telling Jim, uses her recently born minks as a downpayment on a fixer-upper farmhouse in the country, where she proposes to take up mink-raising professionally. The boys respond well to the country and immediately take up gardening, but Jim unhappily accepts a job on a road crew and learns to do house repairs. Weeks later, as the boys sell their first crop of onions, Jim receives a special delivery message from Danfield offering him a job as personnel director, which would make him Heggie's boss. Nora and the boys sadly make preparations to return to the city, but meanwhile, Jim learns that a family can earn $25,000 a year breeding minks. Realizing that he is healthier and happier away from his office job, he turns down the offer, and the family remains in the country. Later, Harvey and Gladys, who have made plans to adopt two children, come to visit and decide to buy a lot next to theirs. Jim quips, "Now the Joneses are keeping up with us."