During the Great Depression, a wealthy banker throws away his wife's expensive fur coat; it lands on the head of a stenographer, leading to everyone assuming she is his mistress and has access to his millions.
- Mitchell Leisen
- Preston Sturges
- Paramount Pictures
J.B. Ball is one of the wealthiest and most influential investment bankers in the country. J.B. is having problems at home with both his adult son, John Jr., and his wife, Jenny. John Jr. is rebelling against the family name, as he wants to make it on his own without his father's help. J.B.'s bigger problem is with Jenny and what he sees as her exorbitant overspending. The latest example of that overspending is her purchase of a $58,000 sable coat, while she already has a closet-full of other fur coats. Refusing to let Jenny keep the coat while she insists the coat cannot be returned, J.B. instead throws it away. The coat literally lands in the lap of poor working girl, Mary Smith. J.B. is able to track down Mary as the person who got the coat. Without knowing who he is or even what his name is, Mary eventually accepts the gift of the coat, which she believes is a cheap knock-off, and the further gift of a matching hat as her own hat was damaged in the process. These gifts set off a series of misunderstandings as through the active grapevine of the wealthy and their associates, Mary gets to be known as J.B.'s mistress, without anyone wanting to expose what they believe is J.B.'s secret. This misunderstanding leads to a further series of actions toward Mary, both positive and negative, about which Mary does not know the reason. In the process, she meets an automat busboy named Johnny, the two who end up falling for each other. Mary does not know Johnny is John Ball Jr., the well-to-do son of the man who gave her the coat and hat, and Johnny does not know Mary's loose connection to his wealthy father. Johnny is fired from his automat job, but he may really need to get another means of income as a further misunderstanding leads to J.B.'s possible bankruptcy and the break-up of his marriage, that is unless all the previous misunderstandings can be cleared.