powered by AFI
After he is told by a Parisian artist that he possesses little artistic talent, would-be painter Philip Carey returns to London and enters medical school. Painfully self-conscious about his clubfoot, Philip flirts awkwardly with Mildred Rogers, a Cockney tearoom waitress whom his fellow student, Cyril Dunsford, has "discovered." Although Mildred treats him rudely, Philip returns to the tearoom and coaxes her to accept a dinner date. During the dinner, Mildred continues her cold, bored behavior and refuses Philip a goodnight kiss. She then breaks a theater date with him in order to see Emile Miller, a loud but well-to-do womanizer. Because of his growing obsession with the waitress, Philip fails his mid-term exams, but determines to propose marriage to her. As Philip presents her with a ring, Mildred tells him that she is engaged to another man, whom Philip later discovers is Miller. To help him forget Mildred, Philip is introduced to Norah, a romance writer, who showers him with love. In spite of his own desires to return Norah's love, Philip ends their relationship when a pregnant Mildred, who has been deserted by the already married Miller, shows up on his doorstep. After her baby is born, Mildred betrays Philip with Harry Griffiths, another student, but eventually is abandoned by him. Philip, meanwhile, meets pretty Sally Athelny, the daughter of a former patient, who encourages him to visit their large family. Months later, a penniless Mildred returns to Philip with her baby and moves in with him. Distressed by Philip's sudden lack of affection, Mildred explodes with fury one night and accuses him of being a laughable, "gimpy-legged monster." She then destroys all of his paintings and burns a stack of bonds, which Philip's uncle had sent him for tuition. Broke, Philip is forced to quit school, but before he leaves, Dr. Jacobs operates on him and rids him of his clubfoot. Eventually the unemployed Philip is taken in by the Athelnys and given a job in a store. Soon after, Philip receives a beseeching letter from Mildred, who has lost her baby and contracted tuberculosis. Determined to resist Mildred, Philip gives her a little money and departs. Then, with an inheritance from his uncle, he finishes medical school and contracts to be the physician on a cruise ship. Before he is to sail, however, Philip learns of Mildred's death and, at last liberated, decides to stay in London and marry the devoted Sally.