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Café Metropole

Café Metropole(1937)

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When Alexander Brown, an intoxicated and apparently wealthy American, demands an order of roast eagle at the Café Metropole in Paris, the owner, Victor Lobard, pacifies him by saying that the eagle needs to be hung for twenty-four hours before cooking and thus will be ready the next evening. At a gambling house that night, after Victor has won back half of the 960,000 francs which he earlier embezzled from the café and then lost, Alexander loses a bet for the remainder and writes a phony check before he reveals that he cannot pay. Victor threatens to call the police unless Alexander agrees to impersonate the Russian prince Alexis Paneiev and make love to Laura Ridgeway, the visiting daughter of one of his wealthy customers, so that Victor can get money from Laura's father. Alexander reluctantly complies and as Alexis, occasionally forgets his Russian accent while he romances Laura. When the real Paneiev, now a waiter at the café, angrily denounces Alexander to Victor, who in Russia used to wait on the proud Paneiev, Victor bribes him for his silence. Alexander and Laura fall in love to the dismay of her suspicious father, but when Laura proposes and Alexander leaves after refusing to go along with Victor's scheme to bilk the Ridgeways, Victor tells Ridgeway that he discovered "Alexander's" scheme and paid him one million francs to go away. Ridgeway repays Victor and calls the police to arrest Alexander. Laura, who suspected all along that Alexander was putting on an act because he was in some kind of trouble, finds him at the police station and sends a wire to have her father, who has left Paris with his wife Maggie on a boat train, arrested for impersonating the real Ridgeway. After Maggie, who likes Alexander, goes along with Laura's ploy and convinces the police that her husband is really "Smarty Pants" Dugan, a confidence man, she and her husband are arrested, but back in Paris all the identities are straightened out. At the café, when Ridgeway orders Victor to give the million franc check to Laura and Alexander for a wedding present, Victor returns Alexander's phony check and to pacify Ridgeway, gives him wild strawberries, just arrived from Algeria, which Ridgeway has desired since his arrival in Paris.