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Bride for Sale

Bride for Sale(1949)

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After announcing to his beleagured staff that he has just hired former army major N. W. Shelley to whip his New York tax consulting firm into shape, Paul Martin is shocked to learn that the ex-officer is a woman named Nora. At first, Paul refuses to give Nora the promised position, but quickly changes his mind when several employees threaten to quit if he brings in a tough man. Three months later, Nora has turned the firm around and is courted by many of its single, male customers. When questioned by Paul about her interest in certain client files, Nora admits that she has been using the business to find a husband. Insisting that she can judge a man by his tax returns, Nora reveals to Paul her desire to marry a rich but staid bachelor who will give her the permanent home she never had as a child. Fearful that Nora will marry and leave the firm, Paul openly denigrates her ideas but fails to influence her. Later, Paul convinces his longtime friend, wealthy archaelogist and museum curator Steve Adams, to pose as a "carpet slipper Charlie," woo Nora until he is due to return to the Middle East, and then play the "chump" with her. As hoped, Nora is intrigued by Steve's doctored portfolio and eagerly accepts his dinner offer. Nora's dream dinner-and-concert date quickly deteriorates, however, when Steve takes her to a dockside dive featuring exotic dancers. Soon, a fight breaks out between Timothy Shale, a sailor, and a man who has stolen his wallet. To Steve's surprise, Nora steps in and, using her toughest army demeanor, breaks up the fight and retrieves the stolen wallet. After telling the grateful Timothy that Nora is his cousin, Steve invites the sailor to join them. With Timothy in tow, Steve then escorts Nora to a wrestling match. Once again Nora surprises Steve when she becomes caught up in the action and throws her bouquet to wrestler Litka. Steve then whispers to Litka that Nora would like to see him after the match. As Litka walks Nora, Steve and Timothy to a fish restaurant he owns, Nora begins to chat about jiu-jitsu, a martial art she learned while stationed in Japan. Pressed to demonstrate her skills, Nora easily throws Steve to the ground, but is accidentally tossed by the enormous Litka. A brawl soon erupts in the outdoor fish market, and the group is hauled off to nightcourt, where they are dismissed with a lecture. Instead of being furious at Steve, Nora later apologizes to him, and amused by this apparent tactic, Steve kisses her. Later, at a nice restaurant, the couple runs into Paul, who "introduces" himself to Steve. After dancing with Nora, Paul suddenly finds himself in love with her and, the next day, asks her for a date. She politely turns him down, then spends a romantic evening with Steve. Finding Nora in a daze the next morning, Paul tells Steve to leave for the desert as soon as possible. That night at Steve's, however, Nora almost confesses her scheme to the now smitten curator, but is interrupted by Paul, who presents Steve with a boat ticket. Upset, Nora leaves with Paul, who then reveals his feelings and proposes. Although surprised by her boss's attentions, Nora promises to consider his proposal. By the next day, however, she realizes she still loves Steve and tries to find him at the museum. While waiting in his office, she comes across his college yearbook and tears out his photograph. Back at home, Nora is about to insert the photo into a frame when she discovers Paul's photo on the other side. Deducing their plot, Nora exacts revenge by accepting Paul's proposal, acting like a silly schoolgirl at work and selecting the cheapest engagement ring she can find. She also refuses to listen to Steve's apologies and makes plans to move to Washington, D.C. Undaunted, Steve throws an engagement party at the office and is stunned when Paul reveals that Nora has accepted his proposal. Guarded by Litka, Nora attempts to drive off unnoticed, but is accosted by both Steve and Paul. After the men's ardent pleas lead to an enormous traffic jam, Nora finally agrees to marry Steve, while the dejected Paul is carted off to jail.