Cast & Crew
Broadway writer-director Tom Langley leaves auditions for his new play, Midnight Lady , unhappy with the candidates for the leading role of Ann Lovell because they insist upon playing her as a common tramp, rather than as a small town girl from a respectable family, who overcomes a somewhat "purple past" to become a "good woman." At dinner, Tom discusses romance with his matronly friend, Mrs. Genevieve Reynolds, affectionately known as "Mousie," and her prudish nephew, Warren White. While Mousie suggests that Warren should have "a good, rousing love affair," and Tom acknowledges that the women he has loved have had tarnished pasts, Warren asserts that there is something inherently wrong with "that" type of woman. After dinner, Tom goes with his assistant, Sidney Cook, to the Sucker Club, which Cook knows will be raided, to gather atmosphere for his play. At the club, where attractive hostesses entertain middle-aged men in private rooms, Tom is struck by the beauty, toughness and freshness of Jean St. Clair, who refuses to be intimidated by her customers or Tom's probing questions. After the raid, Tom has Jean bailed out. He offers her the part of Ann and she takes it, but as they struggle through rehearsals, she is discouraged by Tom's relentless criticism. One night, Tom brings Jean to dinner at Mousie's, where an old customer, J. W., threatens to reveal her past unless she responds to his advances. Warren, who is quite taken with Jean, knocks out J. W. after he sees Jean slap him. Affected by Warren, Jean tells Tom that she desires someone who believes there is some decency in her. Tom, however, remains skeptical that Warren, with his narrow views on women, could love her. While Tom continues to cajole Jean, Mousie's kind words of support help her gain confidence. Jean, billed as "Esther Rivers," and the play are hits, and she and Warren plan to marry. When the "madam" of the Sucker Club, Harriet Naisson, and her co-owner Blackie try to blackmail Jean to keep her past from the newspapers, Tom's glib words, that the publicity might be good for the play, anger Jean, who fears Warren's reaction. Mousie temporarily diffuses the threat by hiring an actor to impersonate a police officer and scare the two would-be blackmailers. However, after a performance, Harriet and Blackie approach Jean backstage and demand money. When Tom orders them out, Blackie pulls a gun, and in the ensuing struggle, Jean is shot. Although Warren says that he is glad he found out about Jean's past in time, Tom stays with her in the hospital and sends her flowers. After she realizes that he has loved her all along, they embrace.
Several reviewers noted the notorious character of the "Sucker Club" in the film. Motion Picture Herald called it a "come-on speakeasy," Film Daily described it as a "'percentage' house," while Variety commented, "There is a speak with such atmosphere and dialog as to easily pass for a disorderly house." According to NYSA records, this film was re-released in 1954 under the title Love Life.