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While on a Carribean cruise, Susan Drake, her brother Tom, and her father, who possess a total of nine college degrees and three professorships among them, meet musician Jerry Marvin when a drunken Jerry tries to drown his sorrows by jumping in the drink. Later that night, Jerry's trumpet playing disturbs Susan's concentration, and she knocks on his door to complain. Susan, who finds romance in science, has no patience with the self-pitying Jerry, who drinks to console himself over a broken marriage. The next day, the passengers disembark at the port of Cristobal in the Panama Canal Zone. After a day spent ashore, the Drakes hear the ship's whistle blow, signaling its imminent departure. When Jerry drunkenly stumbles past, they think that he is lost and escort him back to the ship. Upon discovering that Jerry's cabin is occupied, the Drakes learn that he intended to leave the boat at Cristobal. After Jerry passes out, the Drakes take him to their suite, and when he awakens the next day, he exclaims that he has been abducted. To make amends for their error, the Drakes insist that Jerry share their suite because there are no vacant cabins. By the time the ship docks in Havana, Jerry has grown fond of the family and invites them to summer at his house in Long Island while he works in Cristobal. After giving Susan his keys and address, Jerry leaves them to board a plane to Cristobal. When the Drakes arrive at the house, however, they find a sober Jerry practicing his trumpet. After explaining that he has stopped drinking and is writing a concerto, Jerry asks the family to stay and lend him moral support. Six weeks later, Jerry debuts his concert at Philharmonic Hall. Susan, who has been refused admission to the performance because of her late arrival, meets Jerry's estranged wife Babe in the lobby. Feeling threatened by the coquettish Babe, Susan refuses to go backstage to congratulate Jerry on his success and returns home instead. As Susan eagerly awaits Jerry, Babe drives up and sends the family to bed. Babe then seductively arranges herself on the couch, and when Jerry appears, she purrs that she wants a reconciliation. After Jerry curtly rejects Babe's offer, he goes upstairs and asks Susan to join them. Jerry then proposes to Susan in front of Babe, who concedes defeat and asks his permission to retrieve some of her personal belongings from upstairs. Susan thinks that Jerry's proposal was just a ploy to get rid of Babe until he proposes again and kisses her. After witnessing their embrace, Babe pretends to fall down the stairs. Diagnosed as suffering from hysterical paralysis, Babe begs Jerry to let her stay at his house. Susan decides that, for the sake of propriety, she and her family must leave the house until she walks into Babe's room to retrieve a nightgown and sees Babe applying makeup that had previously been sitting on the dresser. Realizing that Babe is faking paralysis to win Jerry back, Susan determines to expose her ruse. First, Susan moves the table that contains the buzzer that Babe uses to summon her maid, Hattie, out of reach, but Babe outwits her by using a pole to ring the buzzer. Next, Susan decides to get Susan drunk and trick her into walking. The cunning Babe outsmarts Susan by plying her with champagne, however, and when Jerry returns, he finds a drunken Susan coaxing Babe to walk. Awakening the next morning with a hangover, Susan learns that Babe has manipulated Jerry into taking her to the Georgia Hot Springs for a cure. Summoning Susan to her room, Babe begins to taunt Susan with her victory. Storming out of the room, Susan seeks refuge in her laboratory and, while angrily pacing there, overturns a burner and sets the house on fire. When Susan runs upstairs to tell Babe that the house is in flames, Babe thinks it is another trick and refuses to get out of bed. Just then, Jerry runs up the stairs, carries Babe out of the house and sets her in a lawn chair in the garden. Faced with defeat, Susan is about to leave when a fire hose sprays Babe with water, causing her to jump out of the chair. Infuriated by her deception, Jerry turns Babe over his knee and begins to spank her and Susan joins in the fun.