Cast & Crew
Four years ago, Michael Trevor was a promising newspaper man named Jimmie Powers, but because of a scandalous incident, he is no longer able to make a living in the United States. He now runs a scandal sheet in Paris, living on the money he mulcts out of wealthy Americans who conduct secret rendezvous in Paris, but as a gentleman racketeer, Michael refuses to blackmail women. Michael's latest victim is Harold Taylor, the soft coal baron of Pennsylvania. Posing as a novelist, Michael befriends Taylor by suggesting that he prosecute the editor of a scandal sheet who is about to print a story about him and a blonde. Taylor asks Michael to give the editor $2,000 to keep quiet, and Michael pockets the money. He then meets Taylor's charming niece, Mary Kendall, who is in Paris with her suitor, Frank Thompson, whom she does not love. While Frank is in London on business, Mary and Michael fall in love and he confesses his true identity, but promises to reform, and she accepts his proposal. Michael's ex-girl friend, Irene Harper, who helps him run the scandal sheet, was hoping that Michael would swindle Taylor out of enough money for her to post bail for her kid brother in America. When Michael tells her that he and Mary are going to marry, Irene flies into a jealous rage and convinces Michael he will never be allowed to go straight and that marriage to an ex-con would be unfair to Mary. To convince Mary that he was a crook all along, Michael goes to Taylor with a scandalous story about Mary and Michael visiting a notorious inn, and demands $10,000 to keep quiet. Mary, heartbroken, slaps Michael across the face, but agrees to have her uncle write Michael a check. Irene, meanwhile, has tipped off the police, and they politely ask Michael to leave the country. Irene then confesses that she pawned her jewelry to post bail for her brother after she realized Michael really loved Mary. Frank and Mary then sail home to America while Michael and Irene sail to Capetown, South Africa. On the ship's deck, Michael rips up Taylor's check and throws it overboard.
Working titles for this film were Cavalier of the Streets and Gentleman of the Streets. Onscreen credits and most reviews list Richard Wallace as director, however, Motion Picture Herald lists Wallace as co-director with Edward Goodman, whom Motion Picture Almanac lists as dialogue director. According to a January 21, 1931 news item in Variety, Paramount gave Goodman, a New York stage director, his first screen assignment as co-director with Wallace on this film. This was William Powell and Carole Lombard's first film together. They both starred (with Kay Francis) in Paramount's 1931 film Ladies' Man and in the 1936 Universal film My Man Godfrey. They were married in 1931 and divorced in 1933. Motion Picture Herald calls Powell's character "Michael Wagstag," which was used in an early script. Both an early script and the New York Times review mention the fact that Michael tears up the check without Irene knowing he has, but in the print viewed, it is implied that Irene sees the torn check float away on the waves.