Based on Patrick Hamilton's play, a husband tries to drive his wife insane while he searches for rubies he murdered for and has an affair with a maid.
In 1865 at 12 Pimlico Square a man strangles a woman and searches for jewelry. Years later Paul Mallen (Anton Walbrook) and his wife Bella Mallen (Diana Wynyard) move in. Ex-policeman Rough (Frank Pettingell) says Paul is Louis Bauer. Paul jokes with pretty servant Nancy (Cathleen Cordell). Bella says she will be all right if Paul is gentle to her; but he accuses her of taking things and lying or of being crazy. Bella cries. Paul takes a cameo and locks it in his desk. Rough sees Paul go out to another door. Paul takes the letter Bella is expecting and lies to her. Rough learns that Paul won't let #14 and finds Bella in the garden, buying ice cream for poor children. Paul reprimands Bella. She bought the house but says it has been bad since she saw a letter for Louis Bauer. Paul promises to take Bella out and tells her to wear the cameo; but she can't find it. At the concert Paul puts his watch in her bag and later asks her where it is. When he finds it, she gets upset and has to leave. At home Paul asks her for the cameo broach and questions the servants Elizabeth (Minnie Rayner) and Nancy. He tells Bella she is mad. Paul kisses Nancy, who says he is hers now. Rough goes in #14 while Cobb (Jimmy Hanley) waits outside. Nancy tells Cobb the Mallens came back early. Rough hides and watches Paul. Bella sees the gaslight dim and hears sounds.
Rough tells Cobb they must get Bella away from Paul. Vincent Ullswater (Robert Newton) calls to see his cousin Bella, but Paul says she won't see him. Bella wanted to see Vincent, but Paul blames her for writing him. While Paul and Nancy are at a music hall, Rough calls on Bella and tells her the murderer did not find the rubies. Rough asks her about Louis Bauer and says Paul is he looking for the rubies upstairs. Rough says Paul is driving her mad and has a wife in Australia. Rough says Paul is with Nancy and breaks into the desk. Paul is next door though, and Rough sends Bella to her room. Paul sees his desk and sends Nancy for Bella. Paul entices Bella out of her room to see her dog and gets angry at her; but Rough accuses Paul of being Louis Bauer. Bella finds her broach that they discover belonged to the murdered woman, and Bella shows Rough the rubies. Paul and Rough fight. Cobb comes in and fights Paul until Rough knocks out Paul, who is tied up and asks Bella to cut him loose. She understands what he did, and police arrest him.
This psychological thriller portrays the mental cruelty
of a man lusting for riches, showing how insidious a relationship
can be when it is poisoned by ill will and lying; but eventually
the truth must come out, and ironically Bella had the rubies all