A salesman learns he is going to die soon, quits his job, and goes to live in a hotel.
Dr. Pevensey tells George Bird (Alec Guinness) that he has Lampington’s disease and that he will die without pain in a few weeks. George is not married and has no close relatives or friends. He tells his boss he is going and withdraws his savings. A tailor sells him new clothes, and he goes to a resort.
The hotel manager Gambini (Grégoire Aslan) welcomes George. He meets Mrs. Poole (Kay Walsh), who calls him a “mystery man.” George advises the inventor Chalfont (Wilfrid Hyde-White) and is invited by the cabinet minister Bellinghurst (Campbell Cotts).
Derek Rockingham (Brian Worth) tells Sheila Rockingham (Beatrice Campbell) that he needs £300 and kisses her. Inspector Wilton (Bernard Lee) asks Mrs. Poole about George. Joe Clarence (Sid James) tells George he has a good tip, and George asks him to bet £50 for him. Chalfont asks George to come in with him on his invention. George plays croquet with Sheila, and they take shelter from the rain. She asks him to kiss her. He tells her to start living.
Robert Kyle argues with George. Joe tells George that he won £400. George plays poker with Joe and is winning. Inspector Wilton questions Derek. George tells Joe that he will be going away and will not come back. Sheila tells George that Derek needs £100, and George says he will give it to her. George tells Derek he won’t have to pay it back.
Mrs. Poole tells George to go and make something of himself, but he says he is going to the graveyard. George packs and gives Miss Fox £200 after she was dismissed by Lady Oswington.
George gives the money to Sheila, and in the elevator she kisses him. Mrs. Poole shows George that she is jealous. Minister Bellinghurst offers George a position, but he declines.
During a strike George suggests they divide up the work. Gambini cooks. At the dinner George speaks and thanks them all. George tells Trevor Lampington (Ernest Thesiger) why he is going to die, but Lampington says he doesn’t have the disease. George is suddenly happy and tells Mrs. Poole that he is not going to die.
George borrows a car. Sheila warns Derek she may leave him if he doesn’t do better. George goes back to Dr. Pevensey and confirms the mistaken diagnosis. Gambini tells people George’s story and says he will make a dinner for him. George gets into an automobile accident, and while dying he sends his love to those at the hotel. At the dinner they doubt George’s ability. Mrs. Poole gets a call and announces that George is dead.
This dark comedy reminds people they are mortal and suggests that they make the best of their time. The shock of learning he is to die soon causes George to drastically change his life. Yet when he learns he does not have a terminal illness, that does not mean that he will live forever.