Cast & Crew
In Budapest, Stephan Karpath is a reknown actor, but is pompous and egotistical from all the recognition. His lover, Zita Marishka, with whom he constantly feuds, yearns for fame. Although Stephan insists Zita is a terrible actress, she takes the female lead in a play with him. When he complains to the director, Zita is fired. Stephan insists on joining Zita when she rebelliously decides to go to New York and they are married on the ship. In New York, no one has heard of Stephan, and he and Zita live in poverty. When the female lead drops out of a show in which Stephan is acting, Zita decides to create the persona of a famous Russian actress for herself so she can get the part. Stephan reluctantly agrees to the ruse. They approach theatrical producer Henry Morgan, who is discussing the casting problem with the playwright, Larry Kenyon, and Joe Lang. All three men are completely smitten by Zita, who insists she is not married. Zita gets the part and is constantly wooed by Henry, Larry and Joe, but falls in love with Larry. In the meantime, she ignores Stephan, who is outraged at her insolence. When the lead male actor then quits the show, Stephan gets the part but, realizing he will lose Zita to Larry if the play is successful, does his best to act badly. The play is a huge success, however, and Stephan is lauded for his superb acting. When Stephan continues to denigrate Zita's acting and insists that she is simply the wife of a great actor, she tells him she has been unable to make their love scenes convincing any more because she is in love with Larry and leaves him. Seven months later, Zita stars in the premiere production of another play by Larry, and newspapers note the sudden disappearance of Stephan. In reality, Stephan is teaching acting in a hole of an apartment, his only companion his trusted manservant, Mikos. Mikos advises him to accept a job acting in his uncle's theater in North Dakota, and Stephan takes the part only so he can have enough money to see Zita's play. After the show, Larry invites Stephan backstage, but before Stephan goes in, Zita finally confesses to Larry that she has been married to Stephan all along. Recognizing the sad shape that Stephan is in, Larry agrees to step aside so she and Stephan can reunite. Zita tells Stephan she wants to return to him, but he realizes this is her best performance yet. He pretends that he is returning to Budapest and does not want her back, thereby sacrificing his happiness for hers. Afterward, he and Mikos head for North Dakota.
Gregory Ratoff's unpublished story was called "I Love an Actress." The pre-release title of the film is I Married an Actress.