Cast & Crew
After her New York apartment building is condemned and demolished, down-and-out actress Sarah Crabtree, a former star of the legitimate stage, writes to her longtime friend, the wealthy Lady Henrietta Scorsby, for help. Eventually Sarah receives a letter from Henrietta's London solicitors informing her that Henrietta, who is well-known for her exotic adventures and travels, is missing in the Gobi desert. Overwhelmed with loneliness and worry, Sarah, who delights in telling stories of her youthful days with the exciting Henrietta, whom she strongly resembles, takes to her boardinghouse bed and refuses to eat for days. Confronted by her landlady and a sympathetic doctor, Sarah, who suffers from a chronic heart condition, decides to end her days with a flourish by impersonating Henrietta at Henrietta's nephew's Long Island estate. Because Henrietta had visited her nephew John's house only once many years before, John and his wife "Kitty" are easily fooled and accept Sarah as their eccentric aunt. Soon after arriving, Sarah becomes aware that the Scorsby family is plagued by problems and, by exploiting her friend's reputation, undertakes to correct them. First, Sarah learns that Kitty disapproves of her daughter Dot's boyfriend, Barry Graham, a poor gas station owner, and is told by Dot that Kitty is having an affair with her married neighbor, Martin Deveridge. Sarah then discovers that Dot's brother Allan has been staying away from home and drinking heavily. After advising Dot to go ahead and marry Barry, Sarah is confronted by John, who confesses that he is broke. To John's surprise, Sarah offers to help him obtain an extension on his bank credit by using her "wealth" as security. Before Sarah pleads John's case to his bankers and tricks them into accepting her as Henrietta, she finds out from Dot that Allan has acquired a large gambling debt at a Long Island casino. With Dot, Sarah visits the casino and, while using Henrietta's reputation to obtain credit from Taggart, the owner, she not only wins enough money to repay Allan's substantial debt, but exposes Taggart's crooked ways as well. After Sarah convinces Allan to give up gambling, Dot, who had confronted Martin at the casino about his affair and had flirted with him in an attempt to distract him from her mother, is condemned by Barry because of a gossipy telegram sent by the jealous, suspicious Helene Deveridge, Martin's wife. Sarah invites the Scorsby family, Barry and the Deveridges to a special dinner and there exposes Martin's affair with Kitty. Aware that Martin and Kitty were about to leave for Europe together, Sarah admonishes them to be faithful to their marriage vows and advises their spouses to be better, more attentive lovers. Sarah also clears Dot of any wrongdoing and forcefully tells Kitty that Barry is to be her new son-in-law. Satisfied that her work is finished, Sarah confesses her impersonation and collapses from a heart attack. Although the Scorsbys are concerned for her future, Sarah assures them that, having acted her greatest role, she is now ready to die.