An English captain runs a ferry boat across the Gibraltar Strait. He has a partying wife in North Africa and an English wife in Gibraltar to balance the two sides of his nature until they become restless.
Captain Henry St. James (Alec Guinness) faces a firing squad standing next to the officer in charge, and they shoot.
Lawrence St. James (Miles Malleson) tells Chief Officer Ricco (Charles Goldner) that he is Henry’s uncle and asks what happened to him. Ricco says Henry was a great man and tells his story.
On his ship Henry speaks several languages. They cross to North Africa. Henry takes a taxi to see Nita St. James (Yvonne De Carlo). She dances in a night club and gets him to dance with her. They celebrate their second anniversary. Henry crosses back to Gibraltar and tells the sailors not to get off there. He goes home to his English wife Maud St. James (Celia Johnson) with a gift, and they celebrate three years of marriage.
Henry dances with Nita. He attends a concert with Maud, and goes swimming with Nita. Henry gives Nita an apron by mistake and tells her not to cook. Ricco calls on Maud to see Henry and learns she is his wife. Maud receives a bikini and is happy.
On the ship Henry tells Ricco about his two wives. Maud tells Ricco that she flew over to North Africa. Nita goes shopping and helps Maud. Nita takes Henry to meet Maud, and he steps out. Nita and Maud talk about their husband. Police take Maud away, and Henry pays them.
Maud comes to Henry on his ship. Ricco changes Nita’s photo to hers in Henry’s room. Henry and Maud have twins, and they send them to his uncle in England. Henry gives Maud a sewing machine.
Henry finds Nita has cooked and calls her Maud. Henry runs out, and Nita finds him out drinking. She promises not to cook.
Henry comes home to Maud and meets Bob (Walter Crisham). Maud says she likes gin, and they go out dancing. At home Henry says her dancing was undignified.
Henry drinks a toast with Nita. On the ship Henry tells Ricco it can be challenging. An engine explodes, and Henry goes back to Nita, who says she is leaving because she wants to do other things. She is going to marry Absalom, who comes in. They quarrel, and Henry hears shots.
Henry goes to Maud and meets a housekeeper. Maud says she is leaving him for good because she wants to stay up late. Bob comes in to go with her. In the final scene Henry has paid off the firing squad to shoot the officer instead of him.
This comedy plays out a male fantasy of enjoying two different kinds of women, but he learns that women are also whole persons who want well rounded lives.