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Aspiring actress Eleanor Collier is taken hostage by gangster Hair-Do Lempke, who demands that she name his boss's killer. Eleanor is unable to name the murderer, but buys time by telling Lempke about her last six months in New York City: Eleanor moves in with fellow actresses No-No and Sandra, both of whom are unnerved by Eleanor's relentless good cheer and clumsiness. Eleanor regularly argues with her boyfriend, theater director Danny James, who is appalled by her shameless desire for fame and fortune without regard for the integrity and quality of a work. Despite Danny's protests, Eleanor's agent Charlie Baxter arranges for her to date Alex Creek, a baseball team owner who regularly finances the careers of starlets. While at a ritzy nightclub with Alex, Eleanor gets drunk and tries to ingratiate herself with various celebrities, including columnist Laddie Corwin and ne'er-do-well Barney Stratum. Eleanor only succeeds in getting a good soaking when Alex's wife unexpectedly appears and indignantly dumps a bucket of ice on her. The next day, Danny's theater group is selected to perform for a prestigious upstate summer stock program, and he and Eleanor celebrate at Perrin's, a restaurant famous for its celebrity clientele. Eleanor catches the eye of gangster Bunny Harris, who is discussing with Laddie and Charlie his plans to produce a play. After Danny leaves, Charlie eagerly introduces Harris to Eleanor, who invites Harris to attend a rehearsal at Danny's theater. Harris is bored by Danny's production of William Shakespeare's Hamlet , which is being performed for the summer stock producers. To spice things up, Eleanor insists that the group perform their "jazzed-up" song-and-dance rendition of Hamlet . Afterward, Danny proposes to Eleanor, but she rejects him because she thinks he pities her because the summer stock producers want to replace her with a more famous actress. Later that night, Sandra convinces Eleanor to accept Harris' invitation to read a new script at his apartment. Eleanor regrets her decision once she is alone with Harris, and starts to leave, but Harris reassures her that his interest is strictly business and encourages her to ask Danny to join them. While she is behind Harris' bar making her call, a gangster pushes his way through the open apartment door and shoots Harris in the back. During questioning by police, Eleanor is shocked to learn that Harris was a gangster. Eleanor is then kidnapped by Lempke, but before he takes her from her apartment, she uses her lipstick to draw a cartoon-likeness of the gangster onto the ironing board, with a note reading "They got me, he has a scar and plays piano." No-No, Sandra and Danny start an investigation of their own, and convince Laddie to print Eleanor's drawing in the newspaper. Lempke, meanwhile, puts his toughest thug to work beating a confession out of Eleanor, but she overpowers her oppressor with jiu-jitsu techniques she learned from her Marine brother. Danny, meanwhile, interviews piano tuners across town until one identifies the face as one of his clients in the warehouse district. Based on this clue, Danny drives into a warehouse district and repeatedly honks his distinctive car horn. When Eleanor hears the horn, she starts to sing loudly for the gangsters, and Danny finds her and gains entrance by impersonating the piano tuner. Eleanor and Danny beat the gangsters into submission, and Eleanor then calls Laddie's live television show to report her location, after which Charlie announces that she is to appear with the theater company in the summer stock show. Later, Eleanor, finally seeing eye-to-eye with Danny, proposes marriage.