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My Wife's Relatives

My Wife's Relatives(1939)

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On the day that Joe Higgins buys a diamond ring on the installment plan to give to his wife Lillian on their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, his employer, snobbish candy tycoon John Ellis, orders him to break up the romance between his daughter Jean and Ellis' son Bill. When Joe refuses to interfere, he is fired from his job but does not reveal his misfortune to Lil for fear of ruining the celebration she has planned. Although he intends to return the ring without Lil knowing about it, their son Tommy finds it in his pocket, and Joe is forced to give it to her. Joe does not have any luck finding another job, but hopes that he may be rehired when Ellis invites the Higginses to his home for dinner. Unknown to Joe and Lil, Bill has told his parents that he is going to marry Jean no matter what, and they are determined to end the relationship. They plan on showing up the Higgins family at a society dinner, and their scheme is going well as Joe, Lil, Jean and Lil's father, Grandpa Ed Carson, are made to feel very uncomfortable. The evening is finally ruined when Joe and Lil's son Sidney, who works as a plumber, destroys the Ellises' kitchen while trying to repair the sink. Fed up with Ellis' condescending manner, Joe tells him off and decides to start his own candy factory. Bill joins the Higgins family in their hard work, but business is only fair, and soon Joe finds himself in deep trouble financially. Al Mason, the jeweler from whom Joe bought the ring, demands that Joe either return the ring or pay the balance due, as he has not been able to make a payment yet. Joe reluctantly asks Lil for the ring and is shocked to learn that she lost it at the factory. A mad search is conducted, but the ring is not found, and Sid deduces that it must have been fallen into one of the candy vats. While Grandpa tries to borrow the money from Ella Jones, a widow who is more interested in marriage than loans, Sid runs an ad in the newspaper offering a reward for the return of the ring. His ad implies that the ring is in a Higgins Dilly Bar, and instead of offering a $50 reward, he mistakenly puts down $5,000. Meanwhile, Ellis realizes that his business is suffering from Joe's absence, and he agrees to buy out Joe's factory if Joe will run it and the Ellis factory. Once the ad is published, however, business begins to boom for the Higginses, and all seems well until the district attorney's office and the Better Business Bureau begin questioning whether or not Joe really has the $5,000 for the reward. It seems that Joe is about to be arrested, either by the district attorney for fraud or by Mason for non-payment on the ring, when Lil finds the ring at home. Bill cleverly tells Joe and all concerned that he found the ring in a Dilly Bar, thereby preventing any charges of fraud from being leveled against Joe. Bill asks for shares in the company rather than the reward, and Joe is able to pay off the ring with the profits from the increased business. All ends happily for Grandpa also, for he is now able to escape marrying Ella.