Joe is a reporter who is looking for his big break and he gets it when he takes over George Gorman's sports column. Marty is a hood who would fix any sporting event he could and Joe keeps the pressure of the paper on him. His wife Maxine, however, wants only the finer things in life and when Joe is on the road, she becomes Marty's Gal. That and the money that she owes Marty ends Joe's career as a New York Register columnist and starts his new career as a drunk. But Connie, who has had a crush on Joe for years, will try to make him the reporter he once was.
Poor Ella Cinders is much abused by her evil step-mother and step-sisters. When she wins a local beauty contest she jumps at the chance to get out of her dead-end life and go to Hollywood, where she is promised a job in the movies. When she arrives in Hollywood, she discoves that the contest was a scam and the job non-existant. But through pluck, luck, and talent, she makes it in the movies anyway, and finds true love.
Nona Brooks, former member of a stranded theatrical troupe, earns a temporary living singing in a café in Duakwa, British Rhodesia, Africa. The café owner is secretly in league with two foreign agents with a goal of making the natives restless. American explorer Larry Mason leaves for the jungle with his servant, Jeff and a safari. Nona escapes the café into the jungle but is followed by the agents as, unknowing to her, she is carrying a report of the agent's activities. She joins the safari just as all hands are captured by a tribe of natives.
The film's thin plot has James drafted, and joining him is the band's lead vocalist Lon Prentice (Dick Foran), who doesn't believe that Army training and regulations are necessary for anyone of his skill and fame. Shemp Howard steals the film whenever James and the Andrewses aren't performing. As Sgt. Snavely, he's effectively teamed with Mary Wickes as his shrewish fiancée, trying desperately to keep her away from the attentions of nightclub comic and USO performer Lancelot Pringle McBiff (Joe E. Lewis). Shemp also has the opportunity to clown onstage with the Andrews Sisters during a musical finale, as they perform Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree. Arguably, Shemp's best solo feature film credit.
Two fast-talking insurance salesmen meet Mary, who is running away from her wealthy mother, and they agree to help her run a hotel that she owns. When they find out that the hotel is run down and nearly abandoned, they launch a phony PR campaign that presents the hotel as a resort favored by the rich. Their advertising succeeds too well, and many complications soon arise.
A hat-check girl at the Stork Club (Hutton) saves the life of a drowning man (Fitzgerald). A rich man, he decides to repay her by anonymously giving her a bank account, a luxury apartment and a charge account at a department store. When her boyfriend (DeFore) returns from overseas, he thinks she is a kept woman.
Baby photographer Ronnie Jackson, on death row in San Quentin, tells reporters how he got there: taking care of his private-eye neighbor's office, Ronnie is asked by the irresistible Baroness Montay to find the missing Baron. There follow confusing but sinister doings in a gloomy mansion and a private sanatorium, with every plot twist a parody of thriller cliches.
Rich playboy Drogo Gaines is in imminent danger of marrying a gold digger, and escapes by feigning insanity. The joke's on him when he wakes up in an asylum full of comical lunatics. There he befriends Colonel Carraway, and together they escape, catching a ride with a beautiful blonde who proves to be Penguin Moore, carnival owner.
Cub reporter Daniel Greely gets a job on a big city newspaper. A string of robberies occur and the owner of the paper blames the police for not rounding up the crooks. Daniel discovers that a coded message in the newspaper's editor's box tips the crooks about each robbery.
A vaudeville comic and a pretty young dancer aren't having much luck in their separate careers, so they decide to combine their acts. In order to save money on the road, they get married. Soon their act begins to catch on, and they find themselves booked onto Broadway. They also realize that they actually are in love with each other, but just when things are starting to look up, the comic starts to let success go to his head.
While listening to a recording of Penny Serenade, Julie Gardiner Adams begins reflecting on her past. She recalls her impulsive marriage to newspaper reporter Roger Adams, which begins on a deliriously happy note but turns out to be fraught with tragedy. Other songs remind her of their courtship, their marriage, their desire for a child, and the joys and sorrows they have shared. A flood of memories come back to her as she ponders on their present problems and how they arose.
In Panama, Maggie King meets soldier Skid Johnson on his last day in the army and reluctantly agrees to a date to celebrate. The two become involved in a nightclub brawl which causes Maggie to miss her ship back to the States. Now stranded, she's forced to move in with Skid and his pal Harry. She soon falls in love with Skid. Skid gets a job playing the trumpet at a local club and becomes a big success. Fame and fortune go to his head which eventually destroys his relationship Maggie and his career.
Isaiah, a 19th-century businessman, has his eye on the beautiful and very young Jenny. Finally of age, she accepts his marriage proposal, but their love affair quickly turns sour. Ephraim, Isaiah's college-age son, comes for a visit, immediately striking up a chemistry with Jenny. She promises marriage -- if he murders his father first. But Jenny also swoons for John, the fiancé of her best friend, Meg.
While on vacation in Rome, married American Mary Forbes becomes entangled in an affair with an Italian man, Giovanni Doria. As she prepares to leave Italy, Giovanni confesses his love for her; he doesn't want her to go. Together they wander the railroad station where Mary is to take the train to Paris, then ultimately reunite with her husband and daughter in Philadelphia. Will she throw away her old life for this passionate new romance?
Pepe Le Moko is a notorious thief, who escaped from France. Since his escape, Moko became a resident and leader of the immense Casbah of Algiers. French officials arrive insisting on Pepe's capture are met with unfazed local detectives, led by Inspector Slimane, who are biding their time. Meanwhile, Pepe meets the beautiful Gaby , which arouses the jealousy of Ines.
Dowdy Sylvia accepts her boss' marriage proposal, even though he only asked her to avoid marriage to another woman. As a wealthy wife, Sylvia changes from ugly duckling to uninhibited swan and even contemplates having an affair with a man she meets during a trip to Paris.
John and Mary sims are city-dwellers hit hard by the financial fist of The Depression. Driven by bravery (and sheer desperation) they flee to the country and, with the help of other workers, set up a farming community - a socialist mini-society based upon the teachings of Edward Gallafent. The newborn community suffers many hardships - drought, vicious raccoons and the long arm of the law - but ultimately pull together to reach a bread-based Utopia.
Blake Washburn blames manufacturer MacFarland for his defeat in the race for re-election to the state legislature. He takes over his uncle's newspaper to take on big business as an enemy of the people. Miss Martin works in the "Herald" newspaper office. When tragedy strikes, Blake must re-examine his views.
Tom Collier has had a great relationship with Daisy, but when he decides to marry, it is not Daisy whom he asks, it is Cecelia. After the marriage, Tom is bored with the social scene and the obligations of his life. He publishes books that will sell, not books that he wants to write. Even worse, he has his old friend working as a butler and Cecelia wants him fired. When Tom tries to get back together with Daisy to renew the feelings that he once felt, Daisy turns the tables on him and leaves to protect both of them.
Bob Carter, a member of the Foreign Legion, is glad to see his brother, Don, for the first time in ten years but is sorry that Don has joined the Legion. Bob, Don and Bob's buddies, Muggsy and Bilgey, go to a café and there Don falls for Nina, a singer in love with Bob. Bob doesn't know this and thinks she is Garccia's girl, and warns Don to have nothing to do with her. Don disregards the warning and Garcia discovers Nina and Don together and provokes Don into hitting him. Don is arrested and thrown into the company brig. Nina, with the aid of an Arabian sheik, Ul Ahmed, helps Don escape. Bob, Muggsy and Bilgey follow but are captured and taken to Ul Hamid's headquarters. The sheik tortures Don to force Bob to work some captured machine guns for him. Ah Hamid and his tribe attack the fort, but Bob manages to turn the machine guns against his captors, and the fort is saved.