Earl of Puddlestone


1h 7m 1940

Film Details

Also Known As
Everybody's Happy, Should Wives Work?
Release Date
Aug 31, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Film Length
5,883ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

After Betty Higgins is forced out of the community charity show by society matron Millicent Potter-Potter, who demands that her daughter Marian get Betty's leading role, Betty's Grandpa Ed Carson devises a scheme to raise the family's social standing. He reads about a search for the American heirs of Joshua Higgins, the Earl of Puddlestone, and then pays English conman Tittington to state that Joe Higgins is the heir and therefore the twelth Earl of Puddlestone. Once the news breaks, the family's social standing improves, and Joe lands a cushy advertising deal with Millicent's husband Henry. Joe's scatterbrained wife Lil hires English butler Horatio Bottomley to teach them etiquette, and Betty is welcomed back to the show. Meanwhile, on a business trip to New York, Joe finds out that English manufacturer Lord Stoke-Newington wishes to merge with Henry's company. When Joe returns home, he discovers that Lil has moved the family to an expensive mansion in an exclusive neighborhood. While still reeling from that shock, Joe is approached by Tittington, who tells him that because Grandpa has not kept up with his promised weekly payments, he is going to expose the hoax. Although upset to discover that he is not a real earl, Joe says that Tittington can tell whomever he wishes and then goes to the mansion. Joe tries to talk with Lil, but she and Millicent are on the way to meet Stoke-Newington, who is arriving that day to discuss the merger. Joe confronts Grandpa, who apologizes, and then Joe confesses the truth to Henry. Distraught, Henry tells Joe to keep the secret, as Stoke-Newington is only interested in the merger because Henry told him that an earl was the vice-president of his firm. Joe and Grandpa then find Tittington, who hysterically thinks they want to bump him off. In order to quiet his ravings, they kidnap him and take him to the mansion, where they tell Bottomley that Tittington is an insane member of the family. Stoke-Newington stays with the Higgins family at the mansion, and through various deceptions, Joe and Grandpa manage to keep Tittington hidden. The Higginses then host a costume ball in honor of the lord, and chaos ensues when Tittington escapes from the wine cellar and tells Marian about the charade. Jealous of Betty, Marian reveals all to the assembled guests, and everyone leaves in a huff. Soon, the Higginses are living once again in their humble home, but all ends happily when Henry, who has been taught by the experience to be more aggressive, orders Millicent to let Betty keep the coveted lead role. During the show, Betty is a big hit, and Joe is delighted to learn that Stoke-Newington, who laughingly considers the ruse a prank, still intends to go through with the merger.

Film Details

Also Known As
Everybody's Happy, Should Wives Work?
Release Date
Aug 31, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Film Length
5,883ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were Should Wives Work? and Everybody's Happy. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, an "original" story entitled "Should Wives Work?" was purchased by Republic from Hunter Lovelace, and Paul Conlan was signed to work on the screenplay with Val Burton. Lovelace's and Conlan's contribution to the completed film, however, has not been confirmed. This was the last of the Higgins Family pictures to star James, Lucile and Russell Gleason, Harry Davenport and Tommy Ryan. It was also the last film of associate producer and director Gus Meins, who committed suicide. His body was found on August 4, 1940. He had disappeared earlier, following his release on $5,000 bail after being arrested on morals charges. He was not credited on screen when the picture was released, which several reviewers noted. For more information, consult the Series Index and for The Higgins Family.