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Susan Slept Here is a 1954 American romantic comedy film directed by Frank Tashlin and starring Dick Powell (in his last film role) and Debbie Reynolds. Shot in Technicolor, the film is based on the play of the same name by Steve Fisher and Alex Gottlieb. Tashlin later revised the film's plotline and reused it in 1962 for the production Bachelor Flat.

Synopsis

Mark Christopher is a successful 35-year-old Hollywood screenwriter who has suffered from partial writer's block since winning an Academy Award and has been unable to produce a decent script. One Christmas Eve, he receives an unexpected and very unwanted surprise present.

Vice Squad Sergeant Sam Hanlon brings 17-year-old Susan Landis to Mark's luxurious apartment. Susan had been abandoned by her mother and was arrested for vagrancy and hitting a sailor over the head with a beer bottle. Not wanting to keep her in jail over the holidays and aware that Mark was interested in writing a script about juvenile delinquency, the kindhearted cop decides to bend the rules (much to the disapproval of his partner). Hanlon suggests that Susan stay with Mark until her arraignment the day after Christmas.

Mark is naturally appalled, but is eventually persuaded to take the girl in. This doesn't go over too well with his long-time fiancée, Isabella Alexander, the demanding daughter of a U.S. Senator. Isabella's jealousy grows when Susan develops a crush on Mark. Mark's secretary Maude Snodgrass, his best friend Virgil, and his lawyer Harvey Butterworth do their best to keep the situation under control.

When Harvey lets slip that Susan will likely stay in a juvenile detention facility till she is 18, Mark impulsively takes her to Las Vegas and marries her. The marriage, he explains to his friends, will last for just long enough to convince the judge that Susan has made good. To avoid consummating the marriage, he takes Susan out dancing till she collapses with fatigue, and brings her back to Hollywood.

Mark then slips away to a cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains to work on his script with Maude. The marriage is reported in the newspapers. Enraged Isabella confronts Susan, but is hauled away by Hanlon and his partner.

Some weeks later, Isabella finds Mark in the cabin. She has calmed down, but Mark says he thinks they are not really suited to each other. Susan also arrives, determined to win Mark to a real marriage. She is encouraged and supported by Maude, who still regrets leaving her childhood love behind for an attempted acting career in Hollywood. Susan refuses to sign the annulment papers, while Mark still will not consummate the marriage.

When Susan is seen eating strawberries and pickles, Mark's friends assumes that she is pregnant and tells Mark, causing him to misunderstand that Virgil had impregnated Susan while he's gone. Mark returns to his apartment and hits Virgil in the face before leaving again, later returning after a trip to Harvey's psychiatrist. Susan eventually confesses to Mark that she ate strawberries and pickles because she just likes that combination. Mark has his own confession: he is in love with Susan but is worried by their age difference. Susan tells him all the reasons that they should stay married and Mark keeps pointing out about their age difference as they went to the bedroom.

Cast

Actor/actressCharacter
Dick PowellMark Christopher
Debbie ReynoldsSusan Beaurgard Landis
Anne FrancisIsabella Alexander
Glenda FarrellMaude Snodgrass
Alvy MooreVirgil, Mark's Gofer
Horace McMahonSergeant Monty Maizel
Herb VigranSergeant Sam Hanlon
Les TremayneHarvey Butterworth, Mark's Lawyer
Mara LaneMarilyn, Mark's Neighbor
Rita JohnsonDr. Rawley, Harvey's Shrink
Maidie NormanGeorgette, Mark's Maid
Uncredited
Lela BlissWoman in Elevator
Daws Butler (voice)Actor on TV
Ken CarpenterOscar Narrator
Ellen CorbyCoffee Shop Waitress
June ForayActress on TV
Art GilmoreThe Oscar
Barry NortonNightclub Patron
Louella Parsons (voice)Telephone Interviewer
Red SkeltonOswald from North Dakota
Brick SullivanCabbie

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