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Pardon My Past

Pardon My Past(1945)

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While en route from New York to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, to start their civilian lives as mink farmers, recently discharged GI's Eddie York and Chuck Gibson stop at a tailor shop to buy new suits. There, Eddie is spotted by a thug who works for bookie Jim Arnold, who mistakes him for Francis Pemberton, a dissolute playboy who owes Arnold $12,000 in gambling debts. Thinking that Eddie is Francis, the thug flashes his gun and orders him and Chuck to accompany him to Arnold's office, where the bookie demands his money. After Eddie protests that he is a mink farmer and not a gambler, Arnold confiscates his wallet, which contains $3,000, and orders him to pay the balance the following day. Determined to straighten everything out, Eddie decides to locate Francis, and so proceeds to the address listed under Francis' name in the phone book. At the Pemberton estate, Eddie is again mistaken for Francis, who has spent the last two years in exile in Mexico. Hoping to recover their money, Chuck mentions that Francis has agreed to invest $3,000 in a mink farm. Joan, a poor relation of the Pemberton family who has been overseeing the household affairs, suggests taking the money from the safe, but when Eddie is unable to "recall" the combination, Joan suggests contacting Uncle Wills, Francis' business manager, in the morning and invites Chuck to spend the night. That evening, as Eddie cowers in Chuck's room, Grandpa Pemberton enters and directs him to speak to the young lady down the hall. To placate the old man, Eddie steps into the hall and runs into Joan, who invites him into her room. When Joan asks what he plans to do about "Mary and Stephanie," Eddie is bewildered until he meets Stephanie, who is Francis' and Mary's daughter. When Stephanie begs Eddie to allow her to see her mother, Eddie consents, and Joan, surprised at Francis' sudden generosity, commends him. The next morning as Eddie plays with Stephanie in the garden, Grandpa comments that there is something strange about his grandson. When Mary arrives to visit Stephanie, Eddie agrees to let her take the child for the day, causing Mary to observe that her ex-husband has changed. Before leaving the house, Mary hands Eddie a note and asks him to read it, explaining that it contains her side of the story. After Mary leaves, Uncle Wills calls, and when the usually timorous Francis demands the combination to the safe, Wills is stunned and hurries over to the house. Meanwhile, Arnold and his henchmen arrive to claim the balance of their money. When Wills angrily sputters into the library, Arnold graciously steps outside to allow Eddie to settle family differences. Eddie then instructs Wills to allow Stephanie to see her mother, and Wills replies that Francis will lose half his fortune unless he maintains custody of his daughter and reminds him that he spent two years in court proving that Mary was an unfit mother so that Francis would be awarded custody of the child. Realizing that Wills controls the purse strings, Chuck urges Eddie to ask him for $12,000, and Wills consents to write a check on the condition that Francis immediately return to Mexico. Wills then makes out a check to Francis, and after he leaves, Arnold snatches the check and orders Eddie to endorse it. Satisfied, Arnold returns Eddie's wallet. Before leaving, however, Eddie determines to rectifiy the situation and hands Mary's letter to Joan and asks her to mail it to him in Mexico. Wills, meanwhile, has decided that Francis has lost his mind and plots to commit him, but Eddie slugs him and flees the house with Chuck. As they run across the lawn, the real Francis drives up in a cab and is tackled by Wills's detectives. When the cab driver appears at the door and demands his fare for transporting Francis from the airport, Wills realizes that Eddie was an impostor, and Grandpa finally explains that Eddie and Francis were orphaned twins who were separated at birth. Wills then accuses Joan of plotting with Eddie and Mary to kidnap Stephanie, prompting Francis to confide that he returned home to reconcile with Mary. After Wills accuses Mary of being a ruthless fortune hunter, Joan cautions Francis not to believe him and hands him the letter that Eddie had entrusted to her. Meanwhile, Chuck and Eddie return to the tailor shop to retrieve their packages and are met by a glowering Arnold, who informs them that the bank has refused to honor their check. Ordering them at gunpoint into his car, Arnold, a connoisseur of fine books, states that he intends to settle the debt with first editions from the Pemberton library. As Arnold plunders the library, the butler alerts Wills's detectives, but Eddie flees before they can catch him. Joan, disgusted by the duplicity of the Pemberton males, decides to leave the house and is followed by Eddie. Spying Grandpa in the hallway, Arnold demands that he produce Francis, and the old man gleefully complies. Bounding upstairs, Grandpa retrieves Francis and escorts him into the library, where Arnold learns that Eddie is his twin brother. When Arnold demands his money, Francis claims that he instructed Wills to pay the debt and then writes the bookie a check. Appeased, Arnold releases Chuck and walks outside, where he sees Eddie trying to explain the situation to Joan. When Arnold hands the wallet to Eddie, the disbelieving Joan finally accepts his story. As Eddie proposes to Joan, police sirens wail in the background, signaling Mary's arrest for kidnapping. Inside, Grandpa is warning Francis of Wills's treachery when the detectives, thinking that Francis is Eddie, jump him and tie him up. Coming to Mary's defense, Eddie pretends to be Francis and instructs the police to release her. Believing that Eddie is her husband, Mary confronts him about his duplicity and then goes upstairs to tuck her daughter into bed. Bound and gagged in the library, Francis overhears the conversation, and Grandpa then counsels Eddie to disappear and allow Francis to take his rightful place as Mary's husband. Before departing, Eddie decides to completely disabuse Francis about Wills's character. Posing as Francis, Eddie tricks Wills into admitting that he destroyed all the letters that Mary sent him. Wills then enters the library, and thinking that Francis is Eddie, unties him and offers him money to leave town. Finally realizing the extent of Wills's venality, Francis slugs him and orders him out of his life. As Mary and Francis embrace, Chuck, Eddie and Joan jump into a cab and head for the tailor shop to reclaim their packages on the way to the train station. At the shop, they are greeted by Arnold, who, to make amends, presents them with a pair of minks to start their farm.