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The Saxon Charm

The Saxon Charm(1948)

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Successful novelist Eric Busch goes to visit ruthless theatrical producer Matt Saxon in the hospital, where Matt is staying while his house is being painted. Three days later, Eric is called into Matt's office, and learns that the producer has decided to put on his play about the French playwright Molière with the backing of millionaire Zack Humber. That night, as the three men have dinner, Matt's girl friend, singer Alma Wragg, warns Eric's wife Janet about Matt's "Saxon charm" and its negative effect on those around him, which soon becomes apparent when Matt makes a scene at the restaurant. Humiliated by the producer's behavior, Janet convinces Eric to ask for his release, but after Matt arrives at their home and the two men have a late-night confessional meeting, Matt admits to his anti-social, self-destructive ways. The next night, Eric and Janet attend Alma's nightclub tryout, which is nearly sabotaged by Matt's overdirecting. After weeks of re-writes, Eric becomes frustrated, so Janet suggests a short vacation at their beach home. Their bliss soon ends, however, when Saxon and company arrive at the island on a yacht. Sure that his latest production is going to be a big hit, Matt proposes to Alma, only to learn later that the reviews are terrible. Matt immediately orders the show closed, which costs him Humber's backing for Eric's play. Never one to back down, Matt returns to New York and plans to put Eric's play immediately into production. Dissatisfied with Eric's third act, Matt convinces the writer to leave Janet at their vacation home so he can work in solitude. Upon finishing the play, Eric is ordered down to Mexico by Matt, where the producer has reconciled with his ex-wife Vivian in hopes of getting her backing for the play. Learning that Vivian is broke, however, Matt and Eric rush back to New York, where Alma tells him that she has been offered the lead in a Hollywood film. Matt then heads to Hollywood himself, hoping to convince film actor Peter Stanhope to star in Eric's play. The writer returns home, to find the neglected Janet drunk. After a brief fight, she leaves him and plans to return to her hometown of St. Louis. While having dinner with Alma, Janet meets Peter, who, despite rejecting Eric's play, has come to New York to seek a production. Janet convinces the actor and his new producer, Abel Richman, to read the play's original draft, while Alma learns that Matt has sabotaged her film career by spreading the rumor that she is a hopeless alcoholic. A bankrupt Matt returns to New York and is confronted by Alma, who leaves him. Matt then goes to Eric's apartment, where he lies to the writer about his plans for the play's production. Meanwhile, Abel and Peter call Eric, offering to go immediately into production with Eric's original draft, and the writer agrees. Unable to listen to Matt's attacks on Janet anymore, Eric finally punches the producer. Returning to his office, Matt is confronted with his actions by Hermy, his loyal assistant, and after learning that Vivian has committed suicide, the lonely Matt calls playwright Cyril Leatham and offers to produce his play unread. Freed of "the Saxon charm," Eric and Janet reconcile and head to their vacation home for a second honeymoon.