The Affairs of Annabel

The Affairs of Annabel is a 1938 comedy film directed by Benjamin Stoloff and starring Lucille Ball and Jack Oakie. Oakie plays Lannie Morgan, Wonder Pictures publicity man working with film star Annabel Allison (Ball), her first starring comedy role. It was followed by the sequel Annabel Takes a Tour the same year, also starring Oakie, Ball, and Donnelly.

The Affairs of Annabel
Directed byBenjamin Stoloff
Produced byLou Lusty
Lee S. Marcus
Written byBert Granet (writer)
Charles Hoffman (story)
StarringJack Oakie
Lucille Ball
Music byRoy Webb
CinematographyRussell Metty
Edited byJack Hively
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
September 9, 1938 (1938-09-09)
Running time
68 min.
CountryUnited States


Lannie (Jack Oakie) has Annabel (Lucille Ball) taken into prison in order to generate publicity before the release of her new movie. However, when Annabel is released a month later, she finds that nobody has noticed, and she has Lannie fired. But when he pays a struggling actress to pretend to be his sick mother, Annabel has Lannie rehired, and he immediately begins plotting his next stunt.

The head of Wonder Pictures informs Annabel that her film has been canceled, and that she is to star in a new film, The Maid and the Man. Lannie arranges to have her work as "Mary", a maid for the Fletchers, their teenage son Robert (Lee Van Atta), and inventor "Major" (Thurston Hall). While Robert becomes infatuated with Annabel, she is expected to cook and clean for the family, so she calls on Lannie to help. Meanwhile, the investors interested in one of Major's inventions, a rubber ring placed around a plate so that it will bounce rather than break when dropped, appear in the morning newspaper as robbers. They are in fact waiting for their own publicity to die down so that they can make a getaway.

Back at Wonder Pictures, The Maid and the Man has been scrapped, but when Lannie calls Annabel to tell her, she answers that she can't leave. Though first confused, he finds Annabel's police mug shot in the paper along with the robbers, and forms a plan to outfit fifty extras as policemen (plus a police seargent and captain). As they march towards the house firing blanks, the robbers return fire with real bullets, and the extras scatter. Lannie sneaks into the house alone, but is captured.

When the real policemen arrive, the robbers try to make a break for it, using Lannie and Allison as shields. Instead, Annabel uses her martial arts training to throw one of the robbers to the ground, while Lannie bites the other.

Annabel returns to Wonder Pictures and is disappointed to find that The Maid and the Man has been replaced by The Diamond Smuggler, in which she is to play the lead. On her way out, Annabel picks up a gift which Lannie had arranged for her to receive, and is apprehended when the police open it to discover the precious jewels inside. Lannie watches on from the front of the new billboard for The Diamond Smuggler as Annabel is driven away screaming.



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