Charlie Castle, a major film star who has refused to sign a long-term contract for big money with a studio run by the tyrannical Stanley Hoff (Rod Steiger). This has led to the return of his wife, Marion (Ida Lupino), who had left him due to his womanizing and a willingness to kowtow to Hoff in doing bad movies only for the money. After his agent, Nat Danziger (Everett Sloane), tries unsuccessfully to get him to reconsider, Hoff himself badgers Charlie, insisting on the absolute necessity of his signing. When the star continues to resist, Hoff threatens to blackmail him with an ugly incident from his past.
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