Lady Behave!

Lady Behave! is a 1938 American film directed by Lloyd Corrigan. The sophisticated comedy was released by Republic Pictures.

Lady Behave!
Lobby card
Directed byLloyd Corrigan
Produced byAlbert E. Levoy (associate producer)
Written byJoseph Krumgold (screenplay)
Olive Cooper (screenplay)
Joseph Krumgold (original story)
StarringSally Eilers
Neil Hamilton
Music byAlberto Colombo
CinematographyHarry J. Wild
Edited byWilliam Morgan
Distributed byRepublic Pictures
Release date
  • January 5, 1938 (1938-01-05)[1]
Running time
70 minutes
53 minutes (American edited version)
CountryUnited States

Plot summary

Prior to leaving for Haiti, two sisters and their godfather/legal advisor are having a holiday in New Orleans. The fun loving Clarice goes out for a night on the town for their Mardi Gras as sensible conservative Paula and Godfather Burton Williams remain home and prepare for their journey. Clarice comes back in the early morning in a state of drunkenness. Before she passes out she reveals she married the equally drunk wealthy playboy Stephen Cormack during the night. Clarice has forgotten that she is already married to gigolo Michael Andrews.

Cormack's solicitor visits Paula as Clarice is asleep and unseen. Used to Cormack's matrimonial antics, he offers Paula a large sum of money to divorce Cormack, as he thinks Paula is Clarice. Burton and Paula confer on the matter and discover that Clarice faces a minimum of ten years in prison for bigamy if the marriage is revealed. Paula has to impersonate Clarice until Burton can have the marriage of Clarice and Michael annulled.

Burton and Paula travel to New York City where both Cormack, his two children and Michael live. Burton hatches a plan with Michael for him to portray a lover of Paula posing as Clarice to anger Cormack. The scheming Michael demands payment for his efforts, then on meeting Cormack's spoiled two children who wish to break up their father's marriage tells them he will break up the marriage if they pay him $30,000 with $15,000 up front. Skilled in financial matters, Paula is able to acquire the $15,000 the children want without asking what the amount is for.

Over time, Paula keeps her virtue and the secret of her real identity intact, but Cormack's children begin to like her and want her to be their mother. Cormack gets into a brawl with Michael over Paula, posing as Clarice. However, the real Clarice arrives back with the news that her marriage with Michael is annulled. Clarice sues Cormack and asks for a divorce thus leaving Cormack and Paula to be together.



The film began with the title The Lady Misbehaves but Production Code Administration (PCA) director Joseph Breen strongly disapproved of the film's premise of "dealing with so serious a subject as a bigamous marriage, where the treatment is set for comedy."[2] The Hays Office told Republic Pictures that in these times ladies do not misbehave; the dropping of "mis" would still give the desired undesirable impression.[3]

The PCA approved the film when several changes were made to the script and the title was changed.


  1. "Lady Behave!". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  2. "Lady Behave! (1938) - Notes -". Turner Classic Movies.
  3. p. 8 The Daily News (Perth, WA) Wednesday 2 February 1938
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