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Once More, My Darling

Once More, My Darling(1949)

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Upon completing his latest film role, Collier Laing is chastised by his mother, a high-powered lawyer, for forsaking his promising legal career to pursue acting and affairs with vapid women. Content to live as a single man in his mother's house, Collier dismisses her admonitions to settle down and start a family. The next day, Collier learns that the Army has reactivated his reserve status and has summoned him to Col. Head's office. There, Head and FBI agent Burke inform Collier, a captain, about the wartime theft of a valuable German jewel collection and their recent discovery that nineteen-year-old debutante Marita Connell wore a necklace from the collection in a "Passionelle" perfume ad. Head and Burke suspect that Peter Vellon, the man who gave the necklace to Marita, is the jewel thief, and assign Collier to romance Marita, in the hope that Vellon, whose whereabouts are unknown, will become jealous and try to see her. Though reluctant, Collier tries to see Marita at the exclusive Bel Air Hotel, but is thwarted by the hotel staff. While sitting in the hotel grounds, Collier is spotted by Marita, who flirts with him, but he fails to recognize her in her boyish hat and sunglasses. When Collier reveals that he is looking for the Connells, Marita, whose nickname is "Killer," leads him to her bungalow, and he finally realizes who she is. Marita is smitten with Collier, but her overprotective father has forbidden her to see men and throws Collier, who is posing as a survey taker, out. Collier dutifully waits for Marita to show up in the hotel parking lot, and when she finally does, he "confesses" that he saw her picture in the perfume ad and is crazy about her. The loquacious, naïve Marita admits to the same ardent feelings and begins discussing marriage with Collier. Panicked, Collier calls Col. Head to complain, but is ordered to stay on the job. That evening, Collier pretends to his mother that he weasled out of his assignment and is going on an ordinary date. To his horror, Marita insists on meeting his mother, who is entertaining several lawyer friends at home, and shocks everyone when she appears in hostess pajamas, having snuck out of her hotel. She also repulses Mrs. Laing's guests with the suffocating smell of "Passionelle," with which she has doused herself. Later, at a nightclub, Marita tells Collier about Vellon and suggests that, while she does not care for Vellon, he is obsessed with her and will be furious when he learns about their romance. When Marita then proposes marriage to Collier, he tries to stall her, but she cajoles him into agreeing to a quick Las Vegas wedding. At that moment, a club photographer snaps their picture, and Col. Head arranges for the "engagement" photo to be published in the newspaper. Although Col. Head and Burke assure him that they will capture Vellon before the wedding, Collier drives as slowly as possible to Las Vegas, arriving late in the day. When Collier suggests to Marita that they wait until morning to marry and check into an auto court in the meantime, she angrily accuses him of having immoral intentions. Marita nevertheless goes to the auto court with Collier and continues tearfully to berate him. Just as the beleagured Collier announces that he has no intention of marrying her, Vellon bursts into their bungalow in a jealous rage. After Collier knocks Vellon unconscious, he starts to explain the situation to Marita, but is interrupted by her doting chauffeur, as well as a family-minded truck driver. Collier knocks both of them out, then is found by the colonel. Once Marita realizes how Collier has used her, she runs from the bungalow crying. The next day, as his mother and the colonel congratulate him on completing his assignment, Collier realizes that he has truly fallen in love with the debutante. Over a slot machine, Collier begs Marita's forgiveness and professes his genuine love.