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Jimmy Porter is a loud, obnoxious man, rude and verbally abusive to his wife, Alison. Alison comes from an upper class family that Jimmy abhors and he berates Alison for being too reserved and unfeeling. Jimmy is college educated but works with a partner, Cliff Lewis, as a street vendor operating a candy stall. Cliff lives with Jimmy and Alison and is close friends with both. When Jimmy pushes Alison while she is at the ironing board she is burned. Alison visits her doctor where it is revealed that she is pregnant. She asks him if it is too late to do something about it but the doctor immediately tells her never to mention such an idea. When Jimmy leaves for work, Alison confides to Cliff that she is pregnant. She is frightened of Jimmy's reaction to this news, and has not told him. Jimmy is visited by his childhood nanny, Mrs. Tanner, whom Jimmy loves and calls "Mom." Alison tries to tell Jimmy of the pregnancy but is frustratedhen Jimmy insults her for being cool towards Mrs. Tanner.. Alison tells Jimmy that her actress friend, Helena Charles, is coming to stay at the flat. Jimmy hates Helena. In his anger, he curses Alison for her cool demeanor, and wishes that she would have a child and that the child would die so she could feel anguish to break her cool demeanor. Helena arrives, and when she has had enough of Jimmy's bitterness toward Alison, she convinces Alison she should allow her to call Alison's father, Colonel Redfern, to take her to the family home and leave Jimmy. Jimmy then gets word that his nanny has had a stroke. Jimmy begs Alison to come with him to see her but Alison goes with Helena to church. Jimmy visits his nanny in the hospital and is convinced she is dying. Before Jimmy returns, Alison's father arrives and leaves with Alison. Helena stays in the flat. Jimmy returns and Helena tells Jimmy that Alison is going to have a baby. Jimmy says he does not care. When he calls Helena an evil-minded virgin, she slaps him. Then they kiss and make love, locking Cliff from the flat. Jimmy and Helena live for a while in the flat, apparently happy, with Cliff, while Alison stays at her family's home waiting to give birth. Cliff begins to feel out of place, having been close to Alison but not Helena. At the candy stall, Cliff tells Jimmy that he has decided to leave. He wants something better. Jimmy has decided to get out of the candy business, too. Cliff says good-bye to Jimmy at the train station and Jimmy tells him he is worth more to him than a dozen Helenas. Jimmy and Helena enter a train station pub where they find Alison seated at a table alone. Jimmy leaves and Alison tells Helena she lost her child in pregnancy. Helena feels that she has to leave Jimmy. Helena returns to the flat and tells Jimmy she is leaving him because she cannot stand the torment of their lives. Jimmy returns to the train station and finds Alison waiting to return home. They talk of the lost child and Alison tells him she can never have children. Jimmy and Alison reconcile.
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