powered by AFI
DVDs from TCM Shop
American playboy Jim Crocker is a popular London cartoonist known as "Piccadilly Jim," whose confidants are his father, a perpetually unemployed Shakespearean actor, and Bayliss, his impeccable valet. When James Crocker reports to his son that he has fallen in love and wants to marry Eugenia Willis, everything seems fine, except that Eugenia's sister, Nesta Pett, and her brother-in-law, Herbert Pett, the "Rag King" of America, do not approve of James, whom they think is a fortune hunter. To alleviate their fears, James has told them that Jim is a world renown artist, like Michelangelo. That night, while out on the town, Jim meets Ann Chester and becomes immediately infatuated with her, but because she is escorted by Lord Freddie Priory, she will not reveal her name or address. He tries to see her again the next day, which she is riding, but she still is cool to him. He then remembers that he was supposed to meet with Eugenia's social climbing sister and brother-in-law and shows up drunk, alienating Nesta, who also thinks that Jim's caricatures are not socially acceptable. Though Eugenia and James are worried, Jim assures them that everything will be all right, but soon receives a dismissal notice from his editor because of overdue deadlines. The Petts then take Eugenia to the Continent. While James worries about her, Jim tries unsuccessfully to find Ann. As a depressed Jim idly sketches a few caricatures of the Pett family, Bayliss suggests that they are hilarious and Jim decides to turn the family's antics into a cartoon strip. The strip, called "From Rags to Riches," featuring the "Richwitch Family," becomes the hit of London, so that when the Petts return to England, they are greeted with howls of laughter by fans who recognize them as the Richwitch prototypes. The Petts are even more furious with Jim, and Ann, who turns out to be the Petts's niece, vows to get even if she ever meets "Piccadilly Jim." When James shows Jim the family's picture in the paper, he recognizes Ann and goes to her, but does not reveal his identity. After an afternoon with her, he decides to follow her and the Petts to the United States, posing as Bayliss' son, and resolves to make his characters more benevolent. As a result, Americans reading the strip love the "Richwitch" family and the Petts revel in the attention. Ann soon learns Jim's real identity, though, and is furious. When Jim goes to the Pett home to see Ann, who refuses to accept his daily gifts, the Petts are delighted to see him and say that Eugenia is now engaged to a Danish Count named Olav Osrio (whom Nesta and Herbert fail to notice is actually a bearded James) and Ann is engaged to Freddy. Because Bayliss has suspected that Freddy is a bogus aristocrat, Jim tries to discredit him, but at a dinner party at the Pett home Jim's plan backfires. When he promises to "unmask" the imposter, the count stands up and confesses that he is really James, and Freddy turns out to be a genuine lord. Finally determining that everything has gone wrong for him and Ann, Jim decides to leave after offering to bestow a generous dowery on Eugenia and his father. On the boat back to England, Jim finally is victorious when Ann arrives, deciding she would have more fun being his wife than Freddy's.