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Jack Andrus, a onetime Hollywood star whose sudden fall from stardom has led to alcoholism, divorce, a near-fatal automobile accident, and a nervous breakdown, spends 3 years in a New England sanatarium. Finally his doctors permit him to accept a small comeback role in a costume spectacle being directed by Maurice Kruger at Rome's Cinecitta Studios. Years before, Kruger had been the man responsible for Andrus' great success, but he too is now a Hollywood has-been, desperately trying to regain his lost reputation. Andrus arrives in Rome and learns that the part is no longer available, and, finding that the production is in serious trouble, reluctantly agrees to supervise the dubbing of the picture. In the evenings he soothes his wounded ego by relaxing in the company of an Italian woman named Veronica, who, unknown to Andrus, is in love with Kruger's young leading man, the rebellious Davie Drew. One night, following a fight with his shrewish wife Clara, Kruger suffers a heart attack and is hospitalized. Andrus offers to finish the film and, by working night and day, completes it ahead of schedule and under the budget. Simultaneously, he helps Davie sort out his confused life. Kruger, bitterly aware of his own failure, attacks Andrus and publicly accuses him of trying to steal the picture. Stricken, Andrus turns to his ex-wife, Carlotta, and goes on an orgiastic binge. Their night ends with a wild car ride that shocks Andrus into the realization that he cannot place his fate in the hands of others. Now strong and independent, he says goodby to Veronica and Davie and boards a plane for Hollywood.