When Henry Gray and his wife Julia arrive at the house of his Chairman, the party is in full swing. Norman Williams, successful and popular, leads them into the midst of the noise to start introductions.
It is when Norman introduces Henry to an attractive blonde, that Julia breaks down. ‘Is this the one, Henry?’ Julia taunts him. He pretends not to hear. Have you found that he’s sly, attractive and forty-six? Has he told you I’m too skinny? Is that what you tell her, Henry?’
In the confusion which follows guests force her out to another room to lie down. But when Henry returns with a glass of water, Julia has slashed her wrists.
Visiting the hospital, Henry finds Julia still in a disturbed state. He tells the doctor that for months she has had this insane jealousy, but there is no other woman.
Julia is seen by psychiatrist Dr Roger Corder. Gently he questions her. No, there are no children, and now he has been stolen from her by this other woman. As she describes her, he finds that Julia is describing a person completely opposite to herself. Corder also finds that Henry is often late home, sometimes staying out all night.
Talking to Henry, the doctor learns of the ceaseless nagging over the other woman, the phone calls to the office, etc. And the late nights? ‘Strictly business’, says Henry.
Corder’s assistant, Jimmy Davis, thinks it is a clear case of transference. Unable to bear Henry children, Julia has started to hate herself, and is jealous of the woman she would like to have been. Corder is not sure that this is all.
Questioned by Corder about Henry, Norman Williams is surprised when the late nights are mentioned. A good executive. Henry always leaves on time. No vices. Lives like clockwork. It is Corder’s turn to be puzzled. Worried about Henry, Norman Williams watches him leave the factory, hesitate by his car, and then wander off down the road. Concerned, he follows him down to a railway bridge, where Henry watches the trains, plays with a couple of kids, and then, going into the station, vanishes. Corder joins Norman in the watch on Henry. Again it is the railway station, but this time they watch him leave his briefcase, jacket and tie at the Left Luggage Office. He moves off but once again they lose him.
Next day, in Corder’s consulting room, Henry, back to his normal self, is encouraged to talk about his early life. It was a hard one, no toys, just hard study to obtain a scholarship. At sixteen, he had to leave school and support his family. No, he is not resentful. But he has a sense of loss.
As Corder shows Henry out, they meet the doctor’s daughter, Jennifer. Later she tells her father that she has seen the man before. Where? At the ‘Cat’s Picnic’, a teenage Twist Club.
At the hospital, Dr Jimmy Davis and Jane Harris, Corder’s nurse, are having difficulty with Julia. Henry has not visited her-he has disappeared.
At the Club, they join the jostling crowd of kids, and suddenly spot their man. Clad in a black leather jacket, with a night’s growth of beard, Henry is in the middle of the throng. They watch as he tries to become one of the mob, watch his despair as he finds that they accept him as an ‘oddball’, but always on the outside.
In desperation Henry goes outside, joins the gang of ‘ton up’ leather-jackets around their shining bikes and as Jimmy and Jane follow, strides a machine and races off down the road, with other bikes in pursuit like a swarm of locusts. It is Jimmy Davis who rescues him as he crashes. At the hospital Henry lies in the men’s ward, his search for the youth he never had ended. So different in themselves, his illness and Julia’s have helped to drive them over the edge. Now with the guidance of Roger Corder and his team, they could help to cure each other.