powered by AFI
Film studio lawyer Sam Horowitz reads the book for the Broadway musical comedy Louisiana Purchase and advises the studio that they cannot produce the show unless they make all the characters fictional. As a result, the lyrics sung by the performers on stage introduce the film noting that everything is fictional except the name of the state: Louisiana state representative Jim Taylor is framed by his four business partners, Colonel Davis, Sr., Davis, Jr., Captain Whitfield and Dean Manning, to take the rap for a graft investigation that Senator Oliver P. Loganberry, New England Republican, is launching against their Louisiana Purchasing Company. Although Jim is president of the company, he is a mere figurehead appointed by the four guilty partners and is innocent of graft. Jim unsuccessfully tries to distract the prudish and befuddled Loganberry from his investigation. He then enlists the help of Madame Bordelaise, a notorious New Orleans restaurateur, who hires Marina Von Minden, a beautiful young emigrant from Austria who boards with her, to ruin Loganberry's reputation. Marina, who is desperate to earn enough money to bring her mother to the U.S., goes along with the ploy in a private room at the restaurant. Disguised as a waiter, Jim tricks the teetotaler Loganberry into getting drunk, and then the four partners photograph him in compromising positions with Marina. When the evidence is presented to Loganberry, Marina defends him by claiming that they are engaged, as he has promised to use his influence to get her mother into the country. Jim, who has fallen in love with Marina, feels betrayed by her and convinces Madame Bordelaise to use her own vast experience to get Loganberry to drop the investigation. Her ruse only results in her marrying Loganberry, and Jim's partners desert him. To save himself, Jim, inspired by the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington , creates a filibuster in the House of Representatives by reading Gone With the Wind and other enormous novels. When he collapses, Loganberry receives a telegram revealing that Jim is innocent and that the corrupt business partners have been arrested. The House members applaud and Jim and Marina kiss.