Fancy Pants

Synopsis: An American actor (Arthur Tyler) impersonating an English butler is hired by a nouveau riche woman (Effie Floud) from New Mexico to refine her husband and headstrong daughter (Aggie). The complications increase when the town believes Arthur to be an Earl, and President Roosevelt decides to pay a visit.
Director(s): George Marshall
Production: Paramount Pictures
92 min


Hey, fancy pants!

No popcorn during my performance,


January 6th, 1912.

William Howard Taft,

president of these United States,

signs an Enabling Act admitting

the territory of New Mexico

into the Union

as the 47th state.

From a far day in 1850,

the stubborn frontiersmen

of this great territory

asserted their rights to statehood.

This, then, is not the story

of how New Mexico won

its heartbreaking struggle

for admission.

Rather, it is an account of one of the

reasons the struggle took 62 years.

This, then, is the saga

of a lost cause

and one man who helped

to lose it.

His story begins

one summer's day in 1905

on a cricket field

just outside London.

The score is 76 for the gentlemen,

105 for the players.

Lynhaven makes ready

to deliver again to Mr. Fairwick.

A splendid blow.

Oh, I say, there.

- Aggie! Cut out that whistling.

- But Ma, he hit a homer.

Whistling ain't refined.

Now, you quit it

or I'll bang you over the head

with these.

Oh, I say, this is a bit thick, what?

Well, for my part, I find

the young lady rather intriguing.

Oh, you can't be serious,


Never seen anything quite so crude.

Dress, gaudy jewelry,

disgusting display of wealth.

Oh, indeed, yes.

And I made a point

of introducing myself.

- You don't say.

- Yes.

Name is Floud.

Mother is an American

nouveau riche,

determined to inflict culture

upon her daughter Agatha.

- Quite a pippin, huh, Twombley?

- Scarcely your cup of tea, George.

Oh, beyond a cup of tea, Twombley.

More substantial thinking needed

these impoverished days.

Beef and potatoes.

Oh, I say.

My word.


Look, Ma, we got ourselves

a souvenir.

You give them back their ball

this minute.

Hand it over.

I say!

- Is it broken?

- I don't think so.

- Can you continue?

- Of course.

- Stout fellow.

- Let's play.

- Now, keep out of the game, will you?

- The Flouds.

Oh, your lordship.

I'm glad to see you.

- Hi, earl.

- Hello. Mrs. Floud, Miss Floud,

allow me to introduce my friend

Lord Twombley.

- How's that?

- Twombley.

- Howdy, lordship.

- Charmed.

- Aggie.

- Glad to meet you.

- Charmed again.

- Well, earl, what do you know?

What do I know?

Well, not very much.

I stopped to ask if you couldn't drop in

at my country place for the weekend.

- Be glad to.

- Good, good.

I'd like you to meet my family.

- Delighted. Wouldn't we, Aggie?

- Oh, yeah, we're charmed.

Yes. Well, then

I'll send my carriage for you.

Be ready and waiting, your lordship.

- Good afternoon.

- So long.


- Now we're getting somewhere.

- Yeah.

I wanna get somewhere

and loosen these corsets.

But George, you haven't got

a country place, nor a family.

- But Reggie has.

- Reggie?

Yes, Reggie, and he's in Africa.

And I know just where to dig up

a suitable family.

Tennis, anyone?

How can you think of tennis

at a time like this?

I say, what are we doing

at this beastly play?

I told you we needed suitable family

to impress the Americans.

Behold the mater.

Ring for Humphrey, Cyril.

My nerves scream for tea.

Of course.

Did you ring, mum?

Why didn't you wait till I rang,

you idiot?

Tea, mum?

I slitched.

I am soaked again,

you monster! Stop!

This piece will dry out like new.

It's pumpernickel.

Just needs pumping out.

- Blundering American idiot.

- Ought to go back to his native land.

If we could solve the disappearance

of Alicia's necklace.

I'm still not satisfied with Humphrey's

explanation of his whereabouts

- during the time of the crime.

- But I've already explained.

I was in the village

performing an errand

for his lordship and...

And if his lordship were here,

instead of away on a hunting trip,

- he would verify my statement.

- Indeed.

- Your lordship!

- You heard his story. What about it?

Amazing concoction of fabrication.

I never realized a trusted retainer

would turn out to be a scoundrel.

- He's lying, I tell you. Lying.

- It's no use, Humphrey.

But I swear to you,

I was in Barkley's Limited, buying

his lordship a pair of suspenders.

I can prove it by the man

who took me up in the elevator.

Humphrey, I accuse you

of the theft of my lady's necklace.

But there must be a mistake.

Humphrey is an old

and trusted family retainer,

been in the family for generations.

This man is not Humphrey,

but an imposter.

When he said "suspenders"

for "braces" and "elevator" for "lift",

I suspected he was an American.

Bravo, Cyril!

Accusations, just accusations.

I defy you to produce one ounce

of proof.

He asks for proof, Sir Wimbley.

I can prove beyond a shadow

of a doubt that you are the culprit.

And you expect a jury to believe that?

Then perhaps they'll believe this.

A check on your fingerprints

has just come back.

- From the laboratory?

- Absolutely.

And they match those of that

well-known murderer, Oliver Grimes.

All right. I am Oliver Grimes,

the well-known American murderer.

But you'll never take me alive.

Foiled, Mr. Grimes. For I am

Inspector Kirk, Scotland Yard.


Unfortunately, I've been

something of a recluse.

And now I face the embarrassing

problem of impressing the young lady.

It's most difficult to explain.

What his lordship means is,

he's met an American girl

and he wants to impress her.

He's got a country place,

only the toffs won't come.

All you have to do is be upper-class

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