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The Man in Possession

(1931 b 84')

En: 5 Ed: 4

Adapted from the play by H. M. Harwood, a charming man declines to leave England to please his family and manages to get a job in which he serves as the butler for his brother’s fiancée.
      Raymond Dabney (Robert Montgomery) has returned from prison after making a shady car sale. He has attended Cambridge but refuses to accept £500 from his father (C. Aubrey Smith) to leave England. His brother Claude Dabney (Reginald Owen) is engaged to a woman whom he believes has money.
      Crystal Wetherby (Irene Purcell) is engaged to Claude, but her maid Clara (Charlotte Greenwood) tells her that her debts are increasing. A bailiff (Forrester Harvey) arrives and assigns Raymond as his Sheriff’s Assistant with a writ to stay there as the “man in possession” until she pays the £83 she owes. While there he offers to serve as her butler. Claude and his parents arrive for dinner and are surprised to find Raymond there. He spills gravy on Claude and his father who leave with Mrs. Dabney (Beryl Mercer). Sir Charles Cartwright (Alan Mowbray) is also courting Crystal and arrives and calls, but she puts him off. With Clara gone Raymond helps Crystal undo her dress. Charles calls, and Raymond manages to put him off by telling him that Crystal is not there. She is angry at Bernard, but he manages to win her over with his charm.
      In the morning Raymond prepares Crystal’s breakfast with a message of love. Clara takes it to her and finds Crystal in bed with her clothes scattered. When Charles arrives, Raymond tells him that Crystal is engaged. This discourages Charles, and he leaves. Claude arrives, and Raymond tells him that Crystal is in debt and that he will leave England for £1,000 and £200 in cash. Claude agrees, and because he wanted to marry Crystal for her money, he quickly decides to leave. Charles returns and asks Crystal to marry him, but she refuses him. When the bailiff comes back, Raymond gives him the £83 she owes and is paid for his work. The bailiff leaves, and Raymond tells Crystal they can get married on the ship and start a life together in another country. They embrace happily.
      This comedy satirizes English society people who seek marriage partners with wealth by portraying two people believing the other has money. Raymond turns this situation to his advantage and wins over the winsome Crystal.

Copyright © 2014 by Sanderson Beck

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