The Man I Love (1946) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Visiting her two sisters and brother, singer Petey Brown lands a job at small-time-hood Nicky Toresca's nightclub. While evading the sleazy Toresca's heavy-handed passes at her, she falls in love with down-and-out ex-jazz pianist Sand Thomas, who has never quite recovered from an old divorce. While solving the problems of her sisters, brother and their next-door neighbor, the no-nonsense Petey must wait as Sand decides whether to start a new life with her or sign on with a merchant steamer.

  • Currently based in New York but a person who has never set roots anywhere, streetwise Petey Brown, who has made a decent living as a nightclub singer, is feeling the need to touch base with family over the Christmas holidays. As such, she visits with her only living relatives, her three younger siblings who live together in Long Beach, California, her visit a surprise to them all. She ends up staying longer in California than she first anticipated as she becomes embroiled in her siblings and their neighbors' lives. The neighbors, married Johnny and Gloria O'Connor, who have twin newborns, are a mismatched couple. Johnny believes he dotes on Gloria in providing her gifts, and while he works hard to provide for the family, he treats Gloria more like a trophy on his arm than a wife. Gloria, on the other hand, is a party girl, she with nary a domestic or maternal bone in her body, which Johnny doesn't realize. Petey's eldest sister, married Sally Otis, is a hard working waitress at a spaghetti joint owned by Tony Toresca. Although she has no issue with Tony, she does with Tony's nephew, gangster Nicky Toresca, a womanizing club owner who has his eyes currently on her, despite he knowing that Sally is married with a young adolescent child, Buddy Otis. Sally's husband, war veteran Roy Otis, is currently in a military psychiatric hospital suffering from shell shock. Although she wants to stand by Roy, she's not sure if she can handle his current abusive attitude toward her and their marriage. Petey's younger brother, Joey Brown, works for Nicky which was more a favor to Sally than anything. Joey likes to run with the big boys, but doesn't have the wherewithal to deal with any of the implications of doing so. And Petey's youngest sister, eighteen year old Ginny Brown, prefers to stay at home looking after Buddy and the O'Connors' twins than go out and have a social life of her own, in she secretly pining after Johnny. In this environment, Petey sees her primary role as running interference with Nicky away from Sally, which she is more than willing to do as she easily gets a job singing at Nicky's club. Beyond the issues that arise within this collective, a further issue arises most specifically between Nicky and Petey as she falls hard for a man for this first time in her life. He is San Thomas, currently a merchant marine who she had known of in his former life as a jazz pianist. San, however, is a troubled man, running from his past, he still pining after his former wife, which may factor into what he will decide to do with his life, whether it be continue to run by staying within the merchant marines, or return to playing the piano professionally while giving a life with Petey a try.

  • Beautiful torch singer Petey Brown, visiting her family, finds a nest of troubles: her sister, brother, and the neighbor's wife are involved in various ways with shady nightclub owner Nicky Toresca. Tough Petey has what it takes to handle Nicky, but then she meets San Thomas, formerly great jazz pianist now on the skids, and falls for him hard. This is harder to handle: San still carries a torch for another woman.


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