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A Private's Affair

A Private's Affair(1959)

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After Luigi Maresi, Mike Conroy and Jerry Morgan receive draft notices, they report to basic training in New Jersey. Luigi, a would-be beatnik from New York, Mike, an Oregon rancher, and Jerry, a Long Islander, are assigned to the same barracks and quickly become friends. On the night of a big party at the post Service Club, Marie, Luigi's next-door neighbor, and Louise, Jerry's childhood friend, come to the camp to visit. When Mike's nightclub dancer date stands him up, he invites Katey Mulligan, a wise cracking WAC who works in the Public Relations Department, to join him. Luigi soon finds himself attracted to Louise while Jerry is drawn to Marie. Soon after, Jim Gordon, the well-known television emcee, comes to the camp to conduct auditions for an all-Army talent contest. Jim is unimpressed until he hears a tape of Jerry, Mike and Luigi singing during KP duty and recruits them for the show. When the boys learn that they must spend one week in New York for rehearsals, Jerry and Luigi arrange to meet Marie and Louise for a date. Before leaving the camp, however, Jerry contracts laryngitis and is confined to the hospital and dosed with antihistamines. That day, Elizabeth Chapman, the first female Assistant Secretary to the Army, visits the camp and asks to tour the hospital. There, she meets her old friend, Dr. Leyden, the former Dutch Consulate. Leyden introduces the middle-aged Elizabeth to Magdalena, a six-year-old Dutch girl whose mother was killed in an automobile accident and whose ill father is facing imminent death. When Leyden explains that the girl will be sent back to Holland because her relatives there will not relinquish custody, Elizabeth decides to marry Magdalena's father before he dies, thus assuring that she will be able to remain in the United States. Before the ceremony, however, a mix-up occurs when Jerry, unconscious from his medications, is wheeled into the room instead of Magdalena's father, who dies soon after. As a result, Elizabeth unwittingly marries Jerry. After the ceremony, Jerry is briefly roused from his slumber to sign the marriage certificate, which is then sealed. The next morning, Jerry awakens, claiming that he has married the Assistant Secretary to the Army, and is sent to a psychiatrist, Maj. Hanley for treatment. After the major pronounces that Jerry was simply dreaming, Jerry flies to New York to rehearse for the show. Upon reaching the studio, however, he receives a message from the base confirming his marriage. Upset, he hurries to meet Elizabeth's plane at the airport to discuss the situation, but he is restrained from seeing her and arrested by the MPs for psychological observation. Back at the camp, Jerry convinces Hanley that he really has married Elizabeth, and the psychiatrist then releases him to return to New York. Over breakfast the following morning, the major informs Gen. Hargraves about Jerry's marriage, and Hargraves immediately contacts Elizabeth. When Elizabeth opens her sealed marriage certificate, she is amazed to learn that indeed, she has married Jerry and orders him brought to her office in Washington. As Jerry telephones Marie from the rehearsal studio, the MPs arrest him once more and whisk him away to Washington. There, Elizabeth's attorney informs a relieved Jerry that the marriage is illegal due to a number of reasons, including the fact that Jerry was drugged during the ceremony. Upon returning to the camp, Jerry is mistakenly arrested once again and taken back to Washington. Elizabeth rectifies the mistake, however, and Jerry arrives in New York justs in time to perform in the show.