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Painting the Clouds with Sunshine

Painting the Clouds with Sunshine(1951)


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Carol, Abby and June, three comely, unrelated nightclub performers billed as the "Dillon Sisters," decide that Las Vegas, the site of their next gig, is an ideal spot for a manhunt. According to Carol, who is the most pragmatic of the three, the "right" man will be a millionaire, but Abby still pines for Vince Nichols, the singer she left behind in Hollywood because of his urge to gamble. June is sweet on dancer Ted Lansing, who has often performed with them, but it is for Abby, Ted declares, that he would stop breathing. The girls take their trailer to Las Vegas and settle in behind the Golden Egg, where they will be performing. The establishment, which is owned by "Uncle" Felix Hoff, has rapidly grown from a small hotel into a casino, but its success is threatened by the customers' frequent lucky gambling streaks. Felix anticipates financial relief when an eccentric prospector, Sam Parks, rides up on a donkey and expresses his interest in partnership. However, after demonstrating the menacing accuracy of his knife-throwing skill, Sam explains that he is the heir of Felix's former business partner, who was killed cheating in a poker game, and demands that Felix buy out his half of the Golden Egg for $75,000 within two weeks. Meanwhile, Ted, who has followed Abby to Las Vegas and has convinced Felix to hire him, promises Carol that he will bring three millionaires to their opening night performance and that evening, introduces two "sugar-daddies" to the girls. Abby, who is struggling with her decision to break up with Vince, goes out with Ted as a distraction and is amused, but disbelieving, when he tells her that he is the third millionaire. The next morning in the trailer, as truckloads of flowers are delivered to Abby, Carol tells Abby and June that she has learned that Ted is from a family of wealthy Boston bankers. Ted then shows up with another flower and an engagement ring, and though Abby wants time to think about his proposal, Carol makes her accept. Later, in Boston, at the board meeting of the Lansing National Bank, Ted's stiff cousin, Bennington Lansing, reads aloud a Variety review describing Abby as a "shapely canary," and announces his plans to go to Las Vegas to rescue Ted from the supposed gold digger. After learning about Bennington's impending arrival, Carol takes charge of transforming Felix's private suite into Eastern upper class stuffiness and coaches Abby and June to speak with Boston accents, hoping these superficial changes will convince Bennington of Abby's respectability. However, when Bennington arrives early, Carol mistakes him for the interior decorator and unwittingly reveals her plans to him. June sees Bennington pilfer Abby's signed photograph of Vince to use as evidence against her, and in a half-hearted defense of Abby, admits that Vince has just taken a singing gig in Las Vegas at the Bingo Club. After finding Vince, Bennington gives the crooner $5,000 for "expenses" to woo back Abby, then pretends that he has changed his mind about Abby by throwing a celebration at the Golden Egg to honor the engaged couple. Vince appears and though his and Abby's ardor is evident to all, especially the jealous Ted, Vince realizes that he wants what is best for Abby and decides to double-cross Bennington by gambling away the $5,000, which causes Abby to abandon Ted while she tries to talk Vince away from the gambling table. When June finds Ted alone at the slot machines and he coincidentally wins the jackpot, they decide to make the round of casinos together. Meanwhile, Carol encourages Bennington to imbibe, hoping that he will approve of a quickie marriage for Abby and Ted while in an altered state. After he offers to examine her tax returns, she takes him to the trailer to sleep it off, unaware that Sam has arranged to capture the moment on film. In the casino, Vince wins $75,027 with Bennington's $5000, but Abby orders him out of her life with conviction. Carol, however, who has returned in time to witness Abby's rejection of Vince, is unconvinced and tells him that Abby is more in love with him than ever. The next morning, Sam tries to blackmail the hungover Bennington with a compromising snapshot of him and Carol, but when Carol learns about it, she tears up the photo. Frustrated, Sam practices his knife throwing, while Felix watches in fear, keenly aware that the two-week deadline is approaching. Vince shows up and after listening to Sam's tale about the $75,000 owed him, gets Felix off the hook by paying Sam the money he won gambling. As the Las Vegas Helldorado festivities get under way, June and Ted, who have become engaged, happily lead the dancing, and after Ted lassoes Abby and hands her over to Vince, the erstwhile lovers reunite. Felix then arrives, and expresses his gratitude to Vince, his new partner at the Golden Egg, for saving his life. Bennington tells Carol that his drunken expressions of admiration the previous evening were sincere and proposes to her. Sam also joins their group, and they all climb into a buggy for the Helldorado parade.