Payment on Demand
A woman with two grown daughters learns that her husband wants a divorce; she reviews her life and tries to adjust to being alone.
Jim Boland picks up Diana Ramsey (Peggie Castle) on a date, and her mother Joyce Ramsey (Bette Davis) tries to get secret information from him. Phil Polanski (Brett King) comes in with Martha Ramsey (Betty Lynn) and talks with Joyce. Martha tells her mother about Phil. In their bedroom Joyce asks David Ramsey (Barry Sullivan) what is wrong, and he says he wants a divorce. She slaps him and then apologizes. He sees no hope and is leaving her.
Joyce remembers when they were young. In a barn David tells Joyce they could run away. They marry. Joyce persuades Swanson (Walter Sande) to hire David as a lawyer to form a corporation. Joyce tells David that she is pregnant. She has a girl, and Robert Townsend (Kent Taylor) is renting a room with them. Swanson says Joyce steered him to David instead of Robert, who decides to move out.
A reporter learns that Joyce is separated. She goes to Ted Prescott (Otto Kruger), who hires a detective to follow David. Ted advises reconciliation.
Joyce recalls having another baby. Happy David suggests a house in the country, but she hates the idea. Joyce makes friends with the wealthy Emily Hedges to get ahead.
Years later Robert tells Joyce that he must see David because he needs $15,000. She says David is out of town. That night she tells David that Robert came to see him. David goes and returns after giving Robert the money. Joyce complains about it, and David criticizes her.
Martha finds David and hopes that he and Joyce will not hate each other. Eileen Benson (Frances Dee) plays records, and David kisses her. A detective took a photo, and so David asks her to marry; but she says it is over.
Ted represents Joyce in a meeting with David for property settlement. Joyce negotiates for more money and threatens an infidelity suit. Martha chooses to live with Joyce because she needs her more.
Joyce goes on a cruise and meets Anthony Tunliffe (John Sutton). In Europe they visit Emily, who lives with the gigolo Arthur. Emily warns Joyce about getting older. At the ship Joyce gets a radiogram from Martha that she is marrying Phil. Joyce rejects Anthony and flies home. She finds Martha in her room. Martha says that David is back with Robert. After the wedding feast Martha and Phil leave on a plane. David tries to console crying Joyce. She says she missed him, and he says he wants her back. She asks him to wait one day.
This drama explores the emotional process of going through a divorce from a woman’s viewpoint. Joyce was successful at getting things she wanted, but like Emily she realizes she has alienated people in the process.