He Couldn't Say No

Lambert T. Hunkins is a timid office worker at a linoleum company.  He has been reluctantly dating Violet Coney, a pushy girl from his office, although he has a crush on Iris Mabby, a senator's daughter whom he has never met. He collects pictures of Iris from newspapers in a secret photo album. He has another private quirk: he likes to frequent estate auctions.

Out of the blue he receives a $10/week raise, and Iris and her domineering mother take the occasion to bully Lambert into engagement.  The bright point for him is that it gives him an excuse to go to the auction house, allegedly to buy furniture for a new apartment for three. While there he is awestruck by a slightly racy statue that resembles Iris Mabby. Despite all attempts at intervention by Iris and her mother, he buys the statue for $100.

It turns out that Iris was indeed the model for the statue, and the Senator wants to destroy it to avoid potential scandal. He offers Lambert $3000 for it but is refused. The newspapers pick up this story and Lambert gains notoriety as a screwball who values a plaster statue beyond reason. Some mobsters become interested in his inexplicably valuable property and determine to steal it. Iris herself visits Lambert and is charmed by him. Everything turns out well in the end.

Lambert is played by Frank McHugh. Violet is played by Jane Wyman and her mother is played by Cora Witherspoon.

The infamous auction

Trailer for He Couldn't Say No on TCM


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