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Carrying an ax over his shoulder, television commercials director Andrew Quint marches through the streets of London, enters his office, smashes his desk, and resigns from his job. Disenchanted with the superficiality of his work and his life, which he disspiritedly shares with his wife, Louise, and two mistresses, he decides to return to the small literary magazine which began his post-Cambridge University career. Instead of providing the refuge of a simple life, however, the magazine, edited by Quint's old friend Nicholas, proves to be just another version of modern conformity. Even an affair with Georgina, the office secretary, does not ease Quint's anxiety. After the magazine is bought by his former boss, Jonathan Lute, Quint agrees to return to the advertising organization and make one last commercial. When Georgina is killed in an automobile accident, Quint attempts to devastate the merchandizers with a bitter attack on advertising values, but even this effort backfires; the film wins first prize at an annual commercials festival.