James Mason, Joan Bennett, Geraldine Brooks, William Schallert
With her husband away on business Lucia Harper (Joan Bennett) has her hands full at home with her teenaged daughter Bea (Geraldine Brooks) who has been keeping company with an older man Ted Darby (Shepperd Strudwick) whom Lucia distrusts. Darby claims ties to the Art world and that his interest in Bea is for her artist abilities, then one night after a meeting in which Bea realizes that Darby wants to use her for his own pleasure, she hits him and leaves. The next morning Lucia discovers Darbys dead body and believes that daughter Bea will be blamed so she dumps the body in the lagoon far from their house. Knowing that the police will have a difficult time tying Darby to Bea, Lucia relaxes until charming gangster Martin Donnelly (James Mason) arrives to tell her that his boss, a burley opportunist named Nagle (Roy Roberts) has love letters that Bea had sent to Darby clearly implicating her affection for the older man and surely enough evidence to insure that the girl would be arrested and tried for murder. Lucia argues with Donnelly as he has sensitivity that seems un-gangster-like, and she agrees to give him money but must sell what she owns since she doesnt have all the money available in her bank account. As Lucia and Donnelly move from bank to pawn shop to grocery store for the family, the blackmailer develops sympathy for the mother and house wife, and decides to abandon the blackmailing crime. When Nagle discovers that Donnelly is backing down from Lucia he goes to demand the money himself engaging in a battle with his minion.