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A kept woman falls in love with a young paratrooper during the final days of World War II.
In June 1944, Katherine, the young mistress of A. L., a powerful older man, is accompanied to the Miami train station by her friend Jane. They are met by Harry Corwin, the right-hand man of Kay's lover, who is usually called "The Man" by the trio. The Man has summoned Kay to New York City and, despite wartime restrictions on travel, Harry has obtained a train berth for them. Kay and Harry wrangle continuously, as Harry despises her for her position in life, while Kay is disgusted by Harry's cynicism. Kay often urges the soft-hearted Jane to "look out" for herself by finding a wealthy man rather than falling in love with young, poor men, but Jane laments that she will never find anyone as perfect as The Man. Irritated by Harry, Kay and Jane go to the diner car, where the numerous military men on leave are excited by the beautiful women. Especially taken with them are the naïve Red and his older, gregarious buddy, George Kelly, both of whom are paratroopers on leave. Red is on his way to visit his family in Vermont via New York, while Kelly, who has no family, intends to gamble in Atlantic City. Despite her remarks about Red's youth, Kay reciprocates his attraction and enjoys talking with him, while Jane dances with Kelly. Although Kay confesses to Red that she is a kept woman, he is nonjudgmental and, unable to fight her feelings, Kay spends the night with him. In the morning, however, Kay blithely wishes Red well and brushes off his attempts to prolong their relationship. Harry, Kay and Jane then go to The Man's luxurious townhouse, and Kay makes plans to dine with him that evening. Soon after, as Jane and Kay are dressing, Kay is stunned by the arrival of Red and Kelly. The young soldier reveals that Jane gave her address to Kelly, then verbally spars with Kay about her way of life. Kay insists that relying on feelings is immature and that as a child of poverty, she has learned to be practical, even if it has made her appear hard-hearted. Red insists that he is in love with her, but their quarrel is interrupted by the appearance of Harry. Believing that Kay reciprocates his feelings, Red leaves without a fight, after which Jane and Kay join The Man and his guest, an important general with whom The Man is doing business, at an expensive restaurant. Jane, who has once again divulged their destination to the soldiers, is only mildly surprised when they arrive, but Kay is nonplussed. Kay attempts to downplay Red's attraction to her, but the worldly Man deduces that their relationship is much deeper than Kay admits. Red confronts Kay and ends up punching the interfering Harry before storming off. Kay then insists on leaving the restaurant alone, although The Man cautions her not to act impulsively. When Kay reaches the townhouse, Red is waiting for her and she responds to his declaration of love with a fervent embrace. The next morning, as Kay prepares to spend the day with Red, Jane upbraids her, but Kay declares that she should be able to have one day just for herself, especially as Red is leaving that evening. Jane and Kelly join Red and Kay on their sightseeing trip, and the couples have a wonderful day. As Red and Kay relax in Central Park, Red reveals that he has bought her a train ticket to accompany him to Vermont, but Kay announces that she will not join him. Soon after, Kay takes Red to an Italian restaurant where she reveals that after she immigrated to the United States from Italy, she learned that she was good for only one thing, pleasing men, and has been capitalizing on her feminine powers ever since. Kay insists that she is not strong enough to live on love and faith alone, without wealth, but Red demurs, stating that she is stronger than she realizes. Red also proclaims that he will return from the war and that even though all he has to give her is himself, she will have all of him, unlike The Man, who travels constantly and is emotionally distant. Kay leaves anyway, returning to the townhouse where she confesses to The Man that Red wants her to meet his family. The Man replies by asking her to marry him in Washington, D.C. the following day, and the stunned Kay does not know how to answer. She comes across Kelly and Jane kissing in the hallway, and Jane reveals that she is leaving soon for D.C. also, as the general, who is married, has offered to keep her in an apartment there. Kay is dismayed by Kelly's blasé reaction to Jane's news and berates him for not wanting Jane to spend the rest of his leave with him. Kelly is reluctant to ask Jane to give up a "good deal" in exchange for only a few days of companionship, although he finally breaks down and asks her. Jane refuses and after Kelly leaves, lashes out at Kay for interfering, telling her that she is "mean" to make Jane consider her emotions now when Kay had previously told her to forge a better life any way she could. Kay attempts to apologize, stating that she wanted Jane to have happiness rather than just comfort. At the train station, Red despairs that Kay is not going to come, while Kelly is philosophical. Jane finishes packing and tells Kay that because men think of her only as a good time, she has to take what she can get. After Jane leaves, Harry turns on the radio and Kay is upset to learn that a troop of Allied paratroopers was killed at Normandy, to where Red and Kelly will undoubtedly be sent soon. Kay then calls Grand Central Station to determine if Red's train will stop at the station near her, and the eavesdropping Harry tells her that she is "making a sucker play" by leaving The Man for an uncertain future with a penniless youth. When The Man joins them, Kay protests that at least she will have three days with Red at his family's home before he ships out. Kay then returns the jewelry she is wearing to The Man and, before catching a cab to the station, apologizes for hurting him. Terrified that she will miss the train, Kay sobs but arrives at the station just in time. Still crying, Kay joins Red in his compartment, and the thrilled soldier comforts her with an embrace.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 11 Sep 1959; Los Angeles opening: 30 Sep 1959|
|Release Date:||1959||Production Date:||
AFI*; GEH; AFI-DVD
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Paramount Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Mono (Westrex Recording System)||Production Co:||Paramount Pictures Corp.|
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A Much Underrated Film
george shea 2008-06-12
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