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The Man Who Lost Himself

The Man Who Lost Himself(1941)

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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Malcolm Scott, the patriarch of a socially prominent New York family, escapes from a mental hospital when he learns his estate is teetering on the edge of financial ruin. He arranges a meeting with his estranged wife Adrienne, then at a hotel bar, meets Puerto Rican John Evans, who could pass for his identical twin. Like Malcolm, John is facing financial ruin, so the two men decide to get drunk together. After Malcolm's meeting with Adrienne and his family lawyer, Frederick Collins, the two men continue their carousing through the night. The next morning, John awakens in Malcolm's lavish bedroom, being attended to by the rich man's butler, Paul, who mistakes him for Malcolm. While initially enjoying the masquerade, by late morning, John finds that he is unable to convince anyone in the household that he is not Malcolm. He finally leaves the Scott home, only to learn that the real Malcolm has been killed in a subway accident and mistakenly identified as John. John returns to the Scott home, where he meets Adrienne, who chastises her estranged "husband" for his wicked ways. John is immediately infatuated with Adrienne and decides to remain "Malcolm" for the time being. He then meets Frank De Soto, an illegal immigrant working for a blackmailer named Voles. After threatening to call the F.B.I, John manages to obtain Malcolm's love letters from his lover, Mrs. Van Avery, as well as a written admission of guilt. Afterward, John goes to visit Adrienne at her apartment, but finding her there with Peter Ransome, her paramour, he leaves. Back at the Scott home, John is met by two insurance investigators, who tell him that they suspect "John" was murdered in the subway by his ex-business partner, Harold Phillips, who held a large insurance policy on his partner. Afraid of being convicted of insurance fraud if he admits his true identity, John once again decides to continue being Malcolm. The next morning, John meets Mrs. Van Avery, whom he correctly identifies as being involved in the blackmail sceme with Voles at the Scott home. When Adrienne unexpectely arrives and sees him with Malcolm's old lover, she departs in a jealous rage. John then goes to the Scott Department Store, where Adrienne has assumed control of the family business in her husband's absence. As the store's finances are in complete disarray, Adrienne suggests that they accept a low offer for the department store that has been made to them by businessmen T. J. Mulhausen. John meets with Mulhausen, and learns that Malcolm and the businessman have been embezzling from the store for years. When John threatens to expose Mulhausen, the businessman produces a check forged by Malcolm, which he has been holding over the millionaire's head for years. John grabs the check and eats it before the astonished Mulhausen can react. An elated John returns to the Scott home, where the servants think their master is having one of his "spells," and Paul gives the unsuspecting John a sleeping pill. John then calls a meeting of the Scott family, where, in his drugged state, he attempts to confess all. Unfortunately, no one believes him, and Dr. Simms, a psychiatrist, declares that "Malcolm" is crazier than ever. In the meantime, the two insurance investigators visit Adrienne, and she finally realizes who John really is. She rushes back to the Scott home, only to learn that John has been taken to the asylum. That night, Adrienne helps John escape the hospital, then announces her intention to become "Mrs. John Evans."