Cactus Flower

Twenty-one-year-old Toni Simmons attempts to commit suicide by inhaling gas from her stove. Her neighbor, Igor Sullivan, smells the gas and rescues her by using mouth to mouth resuscitation, which evolves into a kiss after Toni regains consciousness.

Toni’s suicide attempt came after being stood up by her lover, dentist Julian Winston. Julian had told Toni from the beginning of their relationship that he had a wife and three children. Unknown to Toni, Julian is not married; and Toni hates lying above all other transgressions. Impressed that Toni had been willing to die over him, Julian decides to marry Toni. However, she is concerned for his wife’s wellbeing, and insists on meeting her to ensure that she has agreed to divorce him and will be taken care of. Julian asks Stephanie Dickinson, his longtime nurse, to pose as his wife. At first unwilling, she ultimately relents, since she has long been in love with her employer.

When Toni and Dickinson meet, Toni senses Miss Dickinson’s feelings for Julian and asks Julian to help Miss Dickinson find another man. Julian lies again, telling her that his wife already has a boyfriend. Toni immediately insists on meeting him, and Julian’s friend Harvey is enlisted in the role of Miss Dickinson’s boyfriend. After a “coincidental” encounter with Miss Dickinson and Harvey at a club, Harvey is swiftly chased off by Julian after his real girlfriend runs into the foursome and humiliates his supposed girlfriend.

Embracing her newfound confidence, Dickinson finally accepts the overtures of Julian’s patient Señor Arturo Sánchez. After attending a ball with him, she invites him to the club from the earlier night, where Toni, Julian, and Igor have also returned. Miss Dickinson and Igor quickly hit it off, to the dismay and jealousy of both Julian and Toni.

After a fight with Julian the following morning, Miss Dickinson quits. She then visits Toni’s apartment to come clean to her, telling her that she is actually Julian’s nurse, and he has never been married. After she leaves, Julian arrives to tell Toni that his wife refuses to divorce him, but that he and Toni can continue their relationship. Toni is exasperated with his dishonesty, and decides to do a little lying of her own. She leaves him for Igor, but fools Julian into believing that she and Igor have been seeing each other all along.

Julian storms off and encounters Dickinson at the office the next morning. She has returned to pick up the cactus she keeps on her desk, which has flowered, like her. Julian tells her that he and Toni have split up and although he was initially devastated, he realized he was relieved he would not have to marry Toni. Dickinson is overjoyed and embraces him, just as he confesses he has fallen in love with her. They kiss.