Cast & Crew
After his daughter Chris's graduation from finishing school, kindly veterinarian Edgar Mason looks forward to spending time with her. His plans are thwarted by his ambitious wife Martha, however, who has taught Chris to be a snob and think only of money and social position. Martha plans to take Chris to Honolulu in order to meet rich bachelors, and informs Edgar that he is not welcome to join them. A few weeks after Martha and Chris leave, Edgar reads in a newspaper society column that Chris is engaged to prominent Freddie Browning and will marry him in two weeks. Aghast, Edgar flies to Honolulu and meets Freddie, who is only six years younger than himself, and mistakes him for the father of Chris's fiancé. Martha clears up the misunderstanding, but Edgar, dismayed by Freddie's age and snobbishness, determines to prevent the union. While walking along the dock, Edgar spies a handsome young man flirting with some women. Edgar offers the man a hundred dollars to romance Chris and break up her engagement, but he refuses until he catches a glimpse of lovely Chris. Edgar thinks that the young man is a penniless fisherman, but actually he is Mike Lord, a wealthy sugar cane plantation owner. Mike's attentions to Chris incur Freddie's jealousy, and Freddie's unfounded suspicions induce Chris to break off their engagement. Mike falls in love with Chris, but her self-declared preference for a man with money troubles him. He convinces Alex Moreno, his business partner, to pretend to be the plantation owner and also romance Chris so that if she chooses Mike, he will know that it is because of himself rather than his money. Alex introduces himself to the Masons, and Martha finagles an invitation to tour the plantation. Mike pretends to be Alex' foreman, and as the days pass, the two friends compete for Chris' affections while the Masons cope with getting around the swampy, primitive plantation. Alex really falls in love with Chris and proposes to her. Mike then sends Alex a fake telegram stating that the sugar market is overloaded and the banks are demanding repayment of a $700,000 loan. Mike advises Chris to marry for love rather than money, and she accepts Alex's proposal despite his apparent poverty. After learning from Mike that the telegram was a fake, Alex sends himself another telegram revealing that he is not broke after all. Chris realizes that money really does not mean that much to her, and that she loves Mike. She chases after Mike, who is leaving the plantation, and declares her love for him. Later, Alex, Martha and Edgar wave goodbye as Chris and Mike sail away on their honeymoon, and Alex reveals that Mike owns the plantation.
Charles [g.] Clarke
Harry M. Leonard
J. Watson Webb Jr.
Eleanor Mercein's short story first appeared in the July 3, 1926 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Although Mercein is not listed on the SAB, nor in the film's file in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, other contemporary sources indicate that the picture is loosely based on her story. A September 16, 1941 studio press release and a August 12, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item note that the film was initially changed from its original setting in the Basque country of Spain to a Cuban sugar plantation so that "audiences [would not] start thinking of the war while viewing the light comedy." Problems also arose due to the Cuban locale, according to the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library. The PCA noted that there were "objectionable Cuban elements" in the August 30, 1941 version of the script, and a September 17, 1941 memo stated that the studio had "decided to solve all Latin American problems presented by the script by changing the locale to some unidentified island, instead of its former Cuban locale." In the film, however, the location of the sugar plantation is Hawaii.
Although Charlie Ruggles and Charlotte Greenwood receive top billing in the film's opening credits, they are listed after Lynn Bari and Cornel Wilde in the end credits. According to a August 14, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item, Malcolm St. Clair was originally set to direct the picture. Studio publicity and the Daily Variety review asserted that The Perfect Snob marked Cornel Wilde's screen debut, but he had appeared in films previously. Wilde replaced John Shelton (Shepperd Strudwick) in the role of "Mike Lord" when Shelton became sick on the first day of shooting. Anthony Quinn was borrowed from Warner Bros. for the production, and when the filming was completed, Twentieth Century-Fox bought his contract from Warners. According to studio publicity, the swampy plantation scenes were shot at the same man-made swamp created on the studio lot that was used in the film Swamp Water (see below). Twentieth Century-Fox first filmed Mercein's story in 1931 as Their Mad Moment. The picture was directed by Chandler Sprague and starred Dorothy Mackaill and Warner Baxter. Also released in 1931 was Mi último amor, a Spanish-language version directed by Louis Seiler and starring José Mojica and Ana María Custodio (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4546).
Released in United States 1941
Released in United States 1941