Franciosa is a young actor looking for his big break on Broadway. He joins a small theater group directed by Martin and marries his hometown sweetheart, supporting himself by waiting tables. His wife eventually leaves him. Martin becomes an important director, but he is reluctant to risk
his reputation by putting an unknown like Franciosa in a show. Franciosa retaliates by beginning an affair with and eventually marrying MacLaine, Martin's alcoholic girl friend. She later asks Franciosa for a divorce so she can marry Martin and Franciosa agrees, on the condition that Martin give
him the lead in the next show. Martin agrees but gives the lead to a Hollywood star. Franciosa is drafted, and, upon returning from Korea, finds that he and Martin have been blacklisted for their involvement in the theater group. They team up to produce an off-Broadway show, which becomes a hit.
Franciosa is finally a star. Originally, MacLaine and Jones had each other's roles, but MacLaine wanted to play the drunken kook, and Jones wanted to play the straight part of Franciosa's agent. They traded parts and MacLaine would spend the next several years trying to escape the "kook" label she
was stuck with after this film. Excellent performances by the entire cast keep this grim drama on target. Nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.
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