False Pretenses (1935)

63 or 66-67 mins | Comedy | 22 October 1935

Director:

Charles Lamont

Writer:

Ewart Adamson

Cinematographer:

M. A. Anderson

Editor:

Roland Reed

Production Designer:

Edward C. Jewell
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HISTORY

The working title of the film was Synthetic Lady . The plot synopsis was taken from a dialogue continuity deposited at the ... More Less

The working title of the film was Synthetic Lady . The plot synopsis was taken from a dialogue continuity deposited at the NYSA. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 Dec 35
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Oct 35
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Aug 35
p. 11.
Motion Picture Daily
8 Nov 35
p. 13.
Motion Picture Herald
23 Nov 35
p. 74.
Variety
30 Oct 35
p. 15.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Synthetic Lady
Release Date:
22 October 1935
Production Date:
began mid August 1935 at Mascot Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Chesterfield Motion Picture Corp.
Copyright Date:
24 September 1935
Copyright Number:
LP5813
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
63 or 66-67
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1314
SYNOPSIS

Mary Beekman, a waitress with higher aspirations, is fired from her job after her jilted boyfriend, truck driver Mike O'Reilly, instigates a brawl at the restaurant where she works. Later that evening, on a bridge, Mary meets millionaire Kenneth Alden, who has just lost his entire fortune, and each suspects the other of having been on the verge of jumping. Ken invites Mary to his mansion for a nightcap and Mary subsequently devises a business scheme which will garner her a rich husband and get Ken back on his feet financially. Using his business and social connections, Ken raises the necessary funds for an expensive new wardrobe for Mary and for private lessons in deportment, charm and etiquette by telling his associates that they are investing in a newly invented beauty preparation. Once Mary's make-over is complete, she arrives with Miss Milgrim, her chaperon, at the Hotel Clifton, a swank seaside resort. There she pretends to bump into Ken, who tells his friends that she is the daughter of an old acquaintance. Inventing a convent background to explain Mary's lack of knowledge of the social scene, Ken introduces her to young millionaire Tiffany Cortland, who is never seen without a drink in his hand, to hotel guest Pat Brennan, and to the wealthy Clarissa Stanhope, who is in love with Ken and desperate to marry him. Pat takes an immediate interest in Mary, and although Ken is at first suspicious of him, Tiffy informs him that Pat is very rich and has a large yacht moored in the harbor. That evening, Pat throws a party in Mary's honor on the yacht, and the ... +


Mary Beekman, a waitress with higher aspirations, is fired from her job after her jilted boyfriend, truck driver Mike O'Reilly, instigates a brawl at the restaurant where she works. Later that evening, on a bridge, Mary meets millionaire Kenneth Alden, who has just lost his entire fortune, and each suspects the other of having been on the verge of jumping. Ken invites Mary to his mansion for a nightcap and Mary subsequently devises a business scheme which will garner her a rich husband and get Ken back on his feet financially. Using his business and social connections, Ken raises the necessary funds for an expensive new wardrobe for Mary and for private lessons in deportment, charm and etiquette by telling his associates that they are investing in a newly invented beauty preparation. Once Mary's make-over is complete, she arrives with Miss Milgrim, her chaperon, at the Hotel Clifton, a swank seaside resort. There she pretends to bump into Ken, who tells his friends that she is the daughter of an old acquaintance. Inventing a convent background to explain Mary's lack of knowledge of the social scene, Ken introduces her to young millionaire Tiffany Cortland, who is never seen without a drink in his hand, to hotel guest Pat Brennan, and to the wealthy Clarissa Stanhope, who is in love with Ken and desperate to marry him. Pat takes an immediate interest in Mary, and although Ken is at first suspicious of him, Tiffy informs him that Pat is very rich and has a large yacht moored in the harbor. That evening, Pat throws a party in Mary's honor on the yacht, and the drunken Tiffy makes advances to Mary, while Ken busies himself selling more shares in his "beauty preparation" business. Later, Clarissa, jealous of Ken's seeming interest in Mary, becomes suspicious when Mary, supposedly educated in a convent, reveals that she doesn't know a word of latin. The next day at the pool, Mary confides to Ken that she is in love with Pat, although she senses that Tiffy, who is known to be worth ten million dollars, is going to propose to her. Ken suggests staging a fake drowning episode in which Pat will rescue Mary, realizing at last his undying love for her. The plan is foiled, however, when Pat is knocked out by the life preserver that Ken throws into the pool, and Tiffy beats him to the flailing Mary. Tiffy proposes marriage, but Mary stalls in order to give Pat one more chance to declare his intentions. In the meantime, Clarissa, driving her car into town, has a minor accident with Mike O'Reilly, who gives her a lift back to the hotel and explains that he was driving recklessly because his girl friend had just dumped him. Clarissa soon realizes that Mike's ex-sweetheart is none other than Mary, and she gleefully tells him where he can find her. Mike and Clarissa appear on the front lawn of the hotel just as Pat is about to propose to Mary. Mike then exposes Mary as a "hash slinger," and identifies Pat as the bootlegger for whom he was once employed. Pat then assumes that Mary is being kept by Ken, and Mary flees the hotel, sharing a cab with Bleven, Pat's valet and an admitted kleptomaniac. When the cab is pulled over by the police because Bleven has stolen a diamond tiara from one of the hotel's guests, Mary is arrested as his accomplice. Ken succeeds in getting the distraught Mary out of jail, and, back in the city, a remorseful Clarissa, anxious to see Mary and Pat reunited, encourages Ken to set Pat straight. Ken convinces Pat of Mary's decency, proposes to Clarissa, and then assembles a meeting of his investors, during which he explains that he borrowed their money under "false pretenses," for the product was not a beauty preparation, but rather the preparation of a beauty, Mary Beekman. Pat then appears with his arms around Mary and passes out checks to each of the investors, announcing that he is buying them out because, as Mary's future husband, he will be the sole stockholder in the corporation. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.