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Forgotten Women

Forgotten Women(1949)

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When an inquisitive stranger enters Marcel's Bar asking about the bar's patrons, Harry, the bartender, tells the story of lovelorn barflies Ruth Marshall, Kate Allison, Claire Dunning and Ellen Reid: Claire, who is separated from her husband and spends her days picking winning horses from the newspaper, befriends the distraught Kate and asks about her love troubles. Kate tells Claire that her husband, who is fighting in the war in Germany, has left her for another woman. Claire introduces Kate to her friends--Ruth, an opera singer whose stage name is Ruth Millet, and Ellen, a telephone operator. In her conversation with Ruth, Claire learns that Ruth is the mother of a young boy, and that her husband Richard, a prominent lawyer, wants her to quit her career to spend more time with her family. The four women become fast friends, and when Kate learns from her lawyer that her husband's desertion is grounds for divorce, Claire advises her to hold onto her man and wait until he gets back. Ruth and Kate reject Claire's advice, and when the ensuing argument becomes too heated for Ruth, she leaves the bar. Though Ruth insists that she is sober, she drives erratically and strikes and kills a pedestrian. Ruth is arrested and booked on manslaughter charges, but Richard successfully defends her in court and wins her release. Richard, however, privately scolds her for drinking and blames her for the pedestrian's death. Hurt by her husband's accusations, Ruth leaves Richard and goes to Kate's house. Ruth then plans to fight for the custody of her young son Gary, who was sent to military school by Richard. Meanwhile, Kate begins dating Andy Emerson, a wealthy playboy, and Claire, who has vowed to quit drinking, reconciles with her husband Bill. During the Marshalls' divorce hearing, the judge accuses Richard and Ruth of being selfish, and urges them to stay together for the sake of Gary. With Gary's intervention, Richard and Ruth end their dispute and reconcile. One day, Claire goes to Marcel's Bar to show off the new car that Bill bought, but she gets drunk and later crashes the car. Certain that she has destroyed her marriage, Claire returns home and contemplates suicide. Bill, however, forgives her and they remain a couple. As Harry concludes his story of the four women, the stranger reveals that he is John, Kate's husband. John realizes that Kate is seated in the bar with Andy, and he overhears her discussing her plans for divorce. John apologizes for his infidelity, and they reconcile with a kiss.