powered by AFI
As Lulu Belle, the singing sensation of Broadway, finishes her song, Harry Randolph, her elderly, wealthy suitor and benefactor, hurries to her dressing room to talk to her. Soon after, shots ring out throughout the theater. Molly Benson, Lulu Belle's longtime friend, rushes to the dressing room and finds both Randolph and the singer critically wounded. Both victims, the sole witnesses to the assault, are unconscious, and consequently, Commissioner Dixon of the police department charges Lulu Belle's ex-husband George Davis with attempted murder. As Dixon questions George about his previous conviction for the attempted murder of one of his wife's admirers, George recalls his first meeting with Lulu Belle, then a performer at a cheap Natchez café: Smitten by the sultry singer, George forsakes his reputable fiancée and his budding law practice, marries Lulu Belle and takes her to New Orleans, where he soon goes broke supporting her lavish life style. When George is unable to find a job that can support her extravagant tastes, Lulu Belle begins an affair with Mark Brady, a big-time gambler. To eliminate his rival for Lulu Belle's affections, Brady offers to sponsor George as a boxer, and sends him on a road tour. George overhears his wife scheming with boxer Butch Cooper, another of her admirers, to rob Brady and denounces her. Later, however, they reconcile. Brady, a shrewd manipulator, co-opts the robbery by offering Lulu Belle a lucrative job singing at an exclusive café that he is developing. Humiliated by his wife's indiscretions, George begins to drink heavily, prompting Molly to warn Lulu Belle that she is ruining his life. Feeling that George's salvation depends upon his returning to a mundane life in Natchez, Lulu Belle tells George that she wants a divorce. That night, philandering millionaire Randolph comes to the club with his wife to see the new singing sensation. Succumbing to Lulu Belle's charms, Randolph becomes her next victim and offers to establish her on Broadway. Later that evening, George starts a brawl with Butch, and after Butch beats him to a pulp, George stabs him in the eye with a fork, destroying his career as a fighter. George flees but is later apprehended by the police and sentenced to prison, while Lulu Belle leaves for New York with Randolph. Five years later, Randolph has built a theater to showcase Lulu Belle. One night, Randolph tells Lulu Belle that he is divorcing his wife and asks her to marry him. Upon learning that George has been released from prison and is in New York, Lulu Belle seeks him out and begs him to come to her apartment. Resisting her entreaties, George sends Butch in his place, and Butch tries to strangle her. Later, Brady appears at the theater bearing a contract for Lulu Belle, who has promised to appear at his club. Brady has sunk his fortune into remodeling the club, and her refusal to sign the contract renders him a ruined man. After her performance that night, Lulu Belle voices her undying love for George, who once again succumbs to her charms and agrees to start life anew with her. After her conversation with George, Lulu Belle cold-bloodedly informs Randolph of her plans, to which he vehemently objects. On the night of the shooting, Randolph enters Lulu Belle's dressing room and declares he will never let her go. Returning to the present, Dixon assembles Brady, George, Molly, Butch and Randolph's wife at the dying Randolph's bedside. Bending over Randolph, Dixon asks him to identify his assailant. When Randolph whispers something in Dixon's ear, Dixon straightens up and accuses Mrs. Randolph of shooting her husband, thus wringing a confession from her. After being released by the police, George ascertains that Lulu Belle will make a complete recovery and then heads for Natchez, alone.