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That Man from Tangier

That Man from Tangier(1953)

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Young Boston socialite Mary Ellen Sanders travels to Seville, Spain, to join her father, George and his mother, a very proper, domineering dowager, who is visiting an old school friend, a countess. On board the plane, Mary Ellen meets a gentleman who introduces himself as a French count in the import-export business in Tangier, Morocco, a city that has long fascinated Mary Ellen. When they part, the count gives her a telephone number where she can reach him. Once in Seville, Mary Ellen quickly becomes bored with the countess' receptions and cultural excursions and spends a wild night out with a young man, angering her grandmother, whose sense of propriety is further offended when Mary Ellen tells her that, had she known that she would be so bored, she would have invented an excuse not to visit. Mary Ellen then phones the count and arranges to meet him in Tangier. After an evening of night-clubbing and heavy drinking, they end up getting married in a civil ceremony. On their way to another club to celebrate the wedding, the count is mugged and disappears, whereupon Mary Ellen telegrams her grandmother and father, informing them of her marriage to a nobleman, but also asking her father to come immediately to Tangier. After her father arrives, Mary Ellen explains the situation and both realize that they cannot return to Seville without her husband as her grandmother is expecting to meet him. In examining the count's passport, Mary Ellen finds an address in Tangier's Casbah. As George and Mary Ellen walk through the Casbah, they are accosted by street children, anxious to sell them all manner of goods. When Mary Ellen expresses interest in a bottle of expensive French perfume, a passing European gentleman advises them that the perfume is an excellent value. Whereupon, the gentleman is attacked by a lady tourist who states that the bottle contains drainage water and accuses him of being in league with the children. The gentleman runs off, but Mary Ellen and her father meet him again when he answers the door at the count's house. They discover that he is the real Count Henri and that Mary Ellen has married an impostor who stole one of Henri's passports and assumed his identity. In order to have someone to present to her grandmother, Mary Ellen and her father then offer the impoverished Henri five thousand dollars to play her husband for a month, after which a "divorce" will be arranged. Although this arrangement does not sit well with Henri's Moroccan girl friend, Aixa, the trio returns to Seville, where the countess gives a large party for the newlyweds at which Henri charms all the ladies. Mary Ellen and Henri do not get along, however, and the sleeping arrangements at the countess' mansion become complicated, with Henri having to share a bed with George. Grandmother is so taken with Henri that she suggests that he join the family business. When Henri points out that he is already making five thousand a month, she assures him that they can easily pay him more, much to George's dismay. After Henri stays out all night at a party, his "employer," Mary Ellen, chastises him and advises him that, for the rest of his contract he must behave like a monk. Their relationship becomes more acrimonious and, after nine days in Seville, they announce that Henri has to return briefly to Tangier on business. Once in Tangier, Henri tells Mary Ellen that he regrets accepting the arrangement, which he thought would be amusing, and does not intend to return to Spain. He does, however, agree to complete the contract and offers Mary Ellen a room in his house. Later, Henri tells Aixa, who is very jealous of Mary Ellen, that he intends to leave Tangier forever. Feeling less pressured in Tangier's relaxing atmosphere, Mary Ellen and Henri get to know each other better and talk about their pasts. Aixa, believing that Mary Ellen is responsible for Henri's flagging interest in her, places a poisonous snake in her room but Henri kills the reptile. Eventually, Mary Ellen and Henri admit to each other that they have fallen in love. Mary Ellen then phones her father to come once more to Tangier. George is happy to do so, realizing that he will not have to return to his mother with news of a divorce, and attends their religious marriage ceremony. Five years later, Henri and Mary Ellen reside with their children in very comfortable surroundings in Boston.