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HISTORY

HR news items reported that The Lady Pays Off was temporarily shut down in early May after actor Stephen McNally collapsed on the set from appendicitis and subsequently underwent an appendectomy. The film marked Linda Darnell's first project under a new contract with Twentieth Century-Fox allowing her to make one outside picture. Lynne Hunter made her feature film debut in The Lady Pays Off . Other HR news items add Harry Mendoza and George Wallace to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a Mar 1951 HR news item, some scenes were filmed on location in Monterey, ... More Less

HR news items reported that The Lady Pays Off was temporarily shut down in early May after actor Stephen McNally collapsed on the set from appendicitis and subsequently underwent an appendectomy. The film marked Linda Darnell's first project under a new contract with Twentieth Century-Fox allowing her to make one outside picture. Lynne Hunter made her feature film debut in The Lady Pays Off . Other HR news items add Harry Mendoza and George Wallace to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a Mar 1951 HR news item, some scenes were filmed on location in Monterey, California. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Oct 1951.
---
Daily Variety
19 Oct 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
22 Oct 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Apr 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Apr 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Apr 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 1951
p. 2, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 51
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Oct 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Nov 51
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
10 Mar 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Oct 51
p. 1065.
Variety
24 Oct 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story and scr
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
DETAILS
Release Date:
November 1951
Premiere Information:
Boston, MA and Hartford, CT opening: 2 November 1951
Production Date:
5 April--late May 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
25 September 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1179
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15365
SYNOPSIS

At the Howell School for girls in Pasadena, California, prim, young Evelyn Walsh Warren is feted and featured on the cover of Time magazine as Teacher of the Year. She is distracted, however, by thoughts of the countless men who have wanted to marry her for her parenting skills only. After Evelyn confides in her dean, Bessie Howell, that she is vacationing in Reno in the hopes of meeting a man who will forget that she is a teacher, Dean Howell calls her cousin Ronald in Reno. Ronald turns out to be a dull mathematician, who brings Evelyn to a casino to try his "system." Bored, she drinks too much and begins to gamble. At the same time, casino owner Matt Braddock protects his establishment from some mobsters who are trying to buy it by beating them up. When he then spots Evelyn at the roulette table, he recognizes her from the cover of Time and signals the croupier to allow her to continue playing on credit. Later, Evelyn learns that she has acquired $7,000 in debt, and haughtily informs Matt that she was duped and cannot pay. Matt suggests she work off what she owes over a few weeks at his vactaion home in Carmel, caring for his nine-year-old daughter Diane, whose mother died two years earlier and who now suffers from constant melancholy. Although unmoved, Evelyn is forced to accept after Matt first threatens to publicize her gambling debt and then cheats after offering to draw cards for the $7,000. A furious Evelyn arrives at Matt's beautiful vacation home and immediately snaps at Diane, unwittingly making the ... +


At the Howell School for girls in Pasadena, California, prim, young Evelyn Walsh Warren is feted and featured on the cover of Time magazine as Teacher of the Year. She is distracted, however, by thoughts of the countless men who have wanted to marry her for her parenting skills only. After Evelyn confides in her dean, Bessie Howell, that she is vacationing in Reno in the hopes of meeting a man who will forget that she is a teacher, Dean Howell calls her cousin Ronald in Reno. Ronald turns out to be a dull mathematician, who brings Evelyn to a casino to try his "system." Bored, she drinks too much and begins to gamble. At the same time, casino owner Matt Braddock protects his establishment from some mobsters who are trying to buy it by beating them up. When he then spots Evelyn at the roulette table, he recognizes her from the cover of Time and signals the croupier to allow her to continue playing on credit. Later, Evelyn learns that she has acquired $7,000 in debt, and haughtily informs Matt that she was duped and cannot pay. Matt suggests she work off what she owes over a few weeks at his vactaion home in Carmel, caring for his nine-year-old daughter Diane, whose mother died two years earlier and who now suffers from constant melancholy. Although unmoved, Evelyn is forced to accept after Matt first threatens to publicize her gambling debt and then cheats after offering to draw cards for the $7,000. A furious Evelyn arrives at Matt's beautiful vacation home and immediately snaps at Diane, unwittingly making the girl cry. That night, Evelyn overhears Diane tell her father over the phone that Miss Warren dislikes her. Chagrined, Evelyn embraces Diane and promises to make her happy. By the time a concerned Matt visits Carmel the following night, he finds Diane smiling and active. Diane soon notices, however, that Evelyn dislikes Matt and asks her father to be nicer. That night, he approaches Evelyn and asks her to stay out of kindness to Diane, but Evelyn, who knows Diane only needs a mother, insists she cannot stay. She is overjoyed to see Matt burn her IOU, until he reveals that it was a fake, at which point she runs to her room. There, her reflection admonishes her that she has her first chance to prove that she can seduce a man, and she immediately begins her campaign to woo Matt. Diane, who wants Matt and Diane to fall in love, encourages the two to share a romantic dinner that evening. Just as Matt is beginning to fall for Evelyn, however, his old flame, socialite Kay Stoddard, arrives unexpectedly. Kay, recognizing Evelyn as a rival, insists on accompanying the three on their hike the next morning. Kay, in heels, is quickly exhausted, but quietly informs Evelyn that she will not give up on Matt easily. Later, Diane deliberately leads Kay into a bed of poison oak, which leaves her bedridden for days. Now unhindered, Evelyn and Matt grow closer. One day, they go on a quick fishing trip, during which Evelyn hints about marriage. When Matt seems to shy away from the topic, she secretly cuts the boat engine line, stranding them. They are rescued by a fishing ship that is sailing to the town next to Carmel. After Evelyn becomes seasick, the captain administers a "medicine" made of pure alcohol, and she cavorts wildly all night. Delighted with her uninhibited side, Matt realizes that he loves her and asks her to marry him. Back in Carmel, Matt tells Kay that he is in love with Evelyn, and Kay, hiding her pain, leaves. Just then, the Reno mobsters visit, and Matt now happily accepts their money for his casino. Before he can inform Evelyn that he is going into a legitimate business, however, she reveals that her love for him has only been a hoax. She returns to Howell's, but as soon as Matt's housekeeper, Marie, calls to report that Diane has run away, she races back to Carmel. There, a distraught Matt joins her and the two begin to bicker on the patio. Evelyn announces that Matt was merely looking for a mother for his child, and he asks why she does not believe that a man would love her for herself. Hearing them, Marie pulls Diane from the pantry, where she has been hiding as part of a ruse to reunite her father and teacher. The three embrace, and when Diane asks them if they love each other, each is forced to admit the truth. +

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.