Filmsite Movie Review
I'm No Angel (1933)
Pages: (1) (2) (3)
Plot Synopsis (continued)

Jack Clayton calls on Tira to explain his concerns about his cousin Kirk's interest in her, and quickly falls under her spell himself:

Jack: He's neglecting important business on your account and, of course, there's Ms. Hatton his fiancee to be considered. (He sits down.) Do you mind if I get personal?
Tira (in a drawl): Go right ahead. I don't mind if you got familiar. It's all in the family.

Jack also wonders if she really loves Kirk. She replies that her horoscope tells her that he's the one: "My whole life is ruled by astrology." He can't believe that just because Kirk fits some vague description in her horoscope that she would deliberately break up Kirk's relationship with Alicia:

If you're thinking of marrying Kirk, you'd better not count on it.

As they discuss Kirk, they become more and more friendly, wishing they had met under pleasanter circumstances. She gives him a framed picture of herself to keep and he presents her with his business card. As the fascinated Jack leaves, she has "a new train of thought":

I'll think it over and let you know what I decide...You fascinate me. You'd better go.

Soon after, Tira calls Jack at his office with a decision - something that pleases Jack: "Good, I'm glad you made up your mind so quickly." Tira tells Jack that he must come over right away:

Oh, I'm very quick in a slow way. You see, I can't discuss it over the phone. It's got a lot of angles to it. You'd better come up and see me.

The Social Registry in the gossip column of the newspaper announces that Jack Clayton has replaced his cousin Kirk for lion-tamer Tira's affection, and the new couple have fallen in love:

After several weeks' campaign, will positively announce his engagement to what beautiful lion-tamer? Wonder what his cousin thinks? Said cousin spent a mess of G's on her and all he gets now is busy signals! ! !

Wearing a shimmering coat with a white fur collar, Tira enters her place with Jack, instructing her maid: "If anyone should call, I'm indisposed. You know what I mean, don't you?" Jack compliments Tira, and she replies with one of her most-famous comeback lines:

Jack: Tonight, you were especially good.
Tira: When I'm good, I'm very good. But when I'm bad, I'm better.

They carry on a romantic exchange as he plays a tune on the piano, and then she sings and accompanies herself to the tune of "I Want You I Need You":

Jack: The only thing, I'm going to be jealous...Cause if I could only trust you.
Tira: You can. Hundreds have.
Jack: Do you know I'm mad about you?
Tira: I could tell you'd be the first time I saw ya.
Jack: Say, I must be transparent.
Tira: Honey, you're just wrapped in cellophane...
Jack: I could be your slave.
Tira: Well, I guess that could be arranged.

Tira tells Big Bill Barton that she's getting sick of the circus show and is planning to get married to Jack Clayton - "the right man." Bill objects when she gives two weeks' notice before quitting. He fears that the circus will financially fail without her:

Bill: You can't quit! You've got a 5-year contract with me.
Tira: Did you ever read it? It says with good cause, you can give it two week's notice...(Marriage) is a good enough cause for anything.

To keep Tira with the Big Show, Slick and Big Bill conspire to play a trick on her, and make it look like she is two-timing Jack by seeing Slick on the side. With Tira out of the way temporarily, Slick (wearing a dressing gown or bathrobe) masquerades as Tira's ex-lover in Tira's penthouse when Jack arrives:

I know all about you and Tira, but that's all finished. I've been away, but I'm back again, and she ain't wanting no change. We're going on just the same as before. Get it?...She didn't like to tell ya herself so I'm going for her. Ain't that enough?

Jack is stunned by the revelation and fooled by the Barton-Slick conspiratorial act. Oblivious to the sabotage, Tira is trying on an elaborate wedding dress when she receives a letter from Jack that breaks off their engagement. Kirk assures Jack: "With a woman of her type, this would have happened sooner or later. And if you ask me, I think you're lucky." Despondent, Jack tells his secretary that he will be out of town for 3-4 weeks, maybe longer. He is "out to all calls," even Tira's phone calls.

Tira brings a breach of promise suit against Jack, hiring lawyer Benny Pinkowitz to sue her ex-fiancee. She has all the necessary evidence: letters, wires, newspaper stories, even her trousseau.

In the final courtroom scene, the best single scene of the film, Tira has brought a lawsuit against Jack for breach of promise, for a large cash settlement. Ignorant of the trick that has been played, Jack defends himself and contests the suit on the grounds that Tira has had friendly relations with a vast number of men. Jack's lawyer (Irving Pichel) calls all her ex-lovers/admirers into the courtroom as witnesses to testify against her to prove Jack's allegation. The witnesses include the following:

  • Mr. Brown (the "Dallas man")
  • Kirk Lawrence
  • Slick
  • five other men

After seeing the witnesses brought forth against her, Tira is allowed to cross-examine the witnesses herself. She sashays back and forth in front of the jury and the judge (Walter Walker), impressing them with her wit, charm, and questioning ability. The first witness, Brown is forced to admit that his evening with Tira led to nothing - their association is easily dismissed as "a little social date." When finished with him, she quips in front of the jury: "How'm I doin'?"

The second witness, Kirk, is reminded that Tira broke off their engagement after his fiancee Alicia requested the split. Beulah also testifies on Tira's behalf about her sincere love for Jack: never knew you could love a man like you loved him...You said that you done fall so hard for him it hurt...Well, I ain't never seen nobody so broken-hearted as you was when you and Mr. Clayton done bust up.

Another witness, Slick lies about his relationship with Tira, but is forced to admit that he is a "crook and a jailbird" - a totally untrustworthy witness. Tira wins her breach of promise suit by default when she disqualifies all the witnesses' testimonies.

Amused by her spunk and love for him, Jack allows her to win the case by dropping his defense and forcing his attorney to give up. Persuaded that she sincerely loves him, he ceases the contest of the suit and is prepared to settle at once for the full amount of the case. The judge dismisses the case and the court is adjourned.

Asked by a woman reporter following the trial, Tira delivers another classic line:

Reporter: Why did you admit knowing so many men in your life?
Tira (rephrasing the question): Well, it's not the men in your life that counts, it's the life in your men.

Back in her penthouse, Tira finishes a conversation with the judge, and then receives a congratulatory phone call from Juror #4. She thanks him for the beautiful flowers and offers:

And don't forget. Come up and see me sometime.

Jack calls on her in her penthouse, and believes that she expressed her love for him in the courtroom. Slick's conspiratorial frame-up to keep Tira in the show is revealed. Jack proposes that they reconcile:

Let's forget the whole thing and go on together...You're everything to me...You're more fascinating than ever.

To his relief, Tira rips up Jack's settlement check for the damages ordered by the court:

Jack: Well, I'm glad to know it wasn't the money you wanted...
Tira: You've got a lot of other things it takes to make a woman happy.

She begins to sing "I'm No Angel" to him as the screen fades:

Baby, I can warm you with this love of mine. I'm No Angel. Aw, let me feel my fingers running through your hair, I can give you kisses...

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