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Charlie Kohler, a retiring piano player in a cheap Parisian dance bar, rears his youngest brother, Fido, with the help of a prostitute neighbor, Clarisse, who has also been Charlie's mistress. Two other brothers, Chico and Richard, seek help from Charlie in escaping from Momo and Ernest, two gangsters whom they have doublecrossed over some stolen money. To avoid the gangsters, Charlie takes refuge at the apartment of Léna, a waitress at the cafe, who has fallen in love with him and discovered his hidden past. Years before, he had been a brilliant concert pianist, Edouard Saroyan. His obsession with his career prompted his wife, Théresa, to reveal that she had given him his first chance at fame by submitting to the sexual demands of an impresario. Edouard walked out on her, but returned to the apartment on a premonition and found that Théresa had committed suicide. Shattered, he abandoned his career, changed his name, and became a haunted man with a single aim--to avoid trouble. Charlie now embarks on a second chance at love with Léna, who encourages him to make a comeback as a concert pianist. They give their notice at the cafe, but Charlie is forced to fight over Léna with Plyne, the jealous bartender, and accidentally kills him. Meanwhile, Momo and Ernest kidnap Fido. Charlie and Léna attempt to cover up Plyne's death and hoping to intercept the gangsters, they drive to Charlie's family villa in Savoie, where Chico and Richard are hiding. Momo and Ernest finally arrive with Fido. In the ensuing gunplay between Charlie's brothers and the gangsters, Léna is killed by a stray bullet. Cleared by police in Plyne's death, Charlie returns to his old job as a piano player at the cafe.