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Lady Behave!

Lady Behave!(1938)

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Straight-laced Paula Kendall warns her fun-loving sister Clarice to behave at a Mardi Gras celebration, but to no avail, for the drunken Clarice returns home the next morning and announces that she has married wealthy Stephen Cormack, a man she met during the night. Paula is astounded, because Clarice is already married to a gigolo, Michael Dimitri Andrews. After Clarice passes out, Howell, the attorney of her new husband, arrives and offers Paula, whom he mistakes for Clarice, five thousand dollars to divorce Stephen, who fled the country after awaking to discover himself married. Burton Williams, Paula's godfather, advises her to impersonate Clarice and keep the marriage going while he obtains an annulment of Clarice and Michael's marriage, or else Clarice will be arrested for bigamy. Paula reluctantly agrees and moves into Stephen's home, where she meets Henry and Patricia, his teen-age children from a previous marriage. The children assume that Paula is a gold digger and plot to get rid of her. Meanwhile, Burton tries to get Michael to agree to an annulment, but when he learns about the circumstances, Michael decides to pressure Paula for more money. Michael goes to her new home, and when he meets the children, he tells them that Paula is a fortune hunter who conned him out of $30,000, but that if they give him that sum, he will induce her to run away with him. Henry and Patricia agree, after which Michael explains the deal to Paula, who agrees to cooperate if he will instigate the annulment. Soon after, Paula aids the children in their quest to obtain the money, and even lends them $5,000 of her own. The children only obtain half of what they need, however, and wire their father to come home in hopes that he will give them the rest. Stephen comes home, and Henry and Patricia are stunned when he and Paula are attracted to each other. As a week passes, the children search for Michael, who has disappeared, while Stephen and Paula fall in love. Henry and Patricia realize that Stephen is becoming a better father thanks to Paula's influence, but their scheme is too far advanced to be stopped. When Paula then "runs away" with Michael, the furious Stephen gives his son and daughter the money they need. The children decide to undo their mischief and rush to the inn where Paula and Michael are staying. They ask Michael to leave Paula alone and plead with her to return home, but Michael still asks Paula for more money. He tells her that Clarice can file for the annulment, because prior to their marriage, he was acquitted of an assault charge by reason of insanity. Just then, Stephen storms in and fights with Michael, and the men knock each other out. Burton also appears after Paula tells him about the annulment, and he reminds her not to get too settled with Stephen, as Clarice is the real Mrs. Cormack. Later that night, Paula explains the situation to Stephen, and the Cormacks realize that they love Paula and want her to stay. She confesses her love for them also, but states that she must leave nonetheless. The next morning, Clarice arrives and declares that she will be filing for divorce and naming her sister as co-respondent. Clarice's wink signals to Paula that she is doing it so that Stephen will be free, and the soon-to-be-wed couple embrace as Clarice leaves with Michael.