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Good Sam

Good Sam(1948)

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Inspired by Reverend Daniels' Sunday sermon on charity and goodness, compulsive do-gooder Sam R. Clayton offers his neighbors, the Butlers, the use of his car for their one-day vacation after their own car breaks down. Sam's kindness annoys his good-natured wife Lu, who protests the gesture with a string of sarcastic barbs. Lu also protests the continuing presence of her deadbeat brother Claude, an ex-serviceman who, at Sam's insistence, has been sponging off of them for six months. That night, the Butlers call to inform Lu that they are keeping the car for an extra day, and the next morning, Sam is forced to pay mechanic Mr. Nelson for fixing the Butlers' car. Much to Lu's frustration, Sam also invites the chatty Nelson to breakfast and cajoles her into agreeing to prepare goose grease for Nelson's asthmatic wife. Later at the department store where Sam is the general manager, his boss, H. C. Borden, scolds him for spending too much time conversing with the customers and not pushing the Christmas merchandise. Dismissing Borden's complaints, Sam then comforts Shirley Mae, a young music department clerk, who is seriously depressed because her married lover has dumped her and left her homeless. That night, Nelson and his wife show up at Sam's house and all but invite themselves to dinner. During the meal, Mrs. Nelson, who is a real estate agent, mentions that a wonderful house may go on the market, exciting Lu about the possibility of finally buying her own home. Sam is then called to see the Adamses, a young couple to whom he loaned money when Mrs. Adams discovered she was pregnant and was considering an abortion. The Adamses tell Sam that, even though the gas station they bought with his money is now a success, they can repay him only in small installments because they have invested in a house for themselves and their soon-to-arrive baby. Although understanding, Sam feels frustrated about the money and announces to Lu, who knows nothing about the Adamses' loan, that he is finally "through with people." He then begins to denounce the Butlers, unaware that the family is in his living room, having told Lu that the nearsighted Mr. Butler was in an accident in Sam's car and is being sued by the other party. In addition, because the car is registered to Sam, and Mr. Butler has lost his job, Sam will be forced to pay for all the damages. After Sam throws the Butlers out, Lu suggests that they also throw Claude out and is thrilled when her brother calls to announce that he is leaving to play pool in Cincinnati. Before the couple can enjoy their first night alone together in six months, however, their daughter Lulu interrupts, demanding a bedtime story. Just as Sam and Lu get Lulu to sleep, Claude returns, having changed his mind about Cincinnati, and Shirley Mae, who has taken an overdose of pills, is dropped off by a cab driver who found Sam's address in her pocket. At her wit's end, Lu later confers with Reverend Daniels and confesses that her marriage is in trouble because of Sam's incorrigible goodness. Daniels promises to talk discreetly to Sam, but the next day, a bemused Sam reports to Lu that the reverend's marriage is faltering. Lu's spirits are finally lifted when she takes a tour of her dream house and believes that their $5,000 "nest egg" can be used as a down payment. When Sam reveals that he loaned the Adamses their house savings, Lu breaks down in tears. Then, in the midst of their ensuing argument, Reverend Daniels arrives to discuss a charity bazaar for which Sam has volunteered Lu's services. Although Lu participates in the bazaar, she tells Sam afterward that Borden has offered her a job buying for the store in Europe. As Sam and Lu argue about the offer, they overhear Claude romancing Shirley Mae on the porch, causing Lu to call the clerk an immoral gold digger. A crushed Shirley Mae leaves the house, and to Sam's surprise, the Adamses then show up with a check for $6,000, having sold their gas station for a huge profit. After Sam tells Lu that he will never change, Lu begins to feel contrite, especially after she learns that Claude, who has taken a job at the Adamses' new gas station, has proposed to Shirley Mae. Sam, meanwhile, is put in charge of the store's Christmas charity dinner and is robbed of all his money after he has already paid for the turkeys with part of the house savings. Sam tries to secure a bank loan, but is turned down because of his unstable credit history. Unable to face Lu, who has already moved into the new house and is preparing a celebratory dinner, Sam seeks refuge in a bar. While his family waits nervously for his return, the bank officer who rejected Sam announces to Lu that he has changed his mind about the loan. Just as Lu is about to panic, a very drunken Sam is escorted home by a Salvation Army band, and Sam learns that not only will he receive the loan, but has been made vice-president of the store. A relieved Lu then lovingly embraces her inebriated husband.