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|Joan Crawford||Louise Howell|
|Van Heflin||David Sutton|
|Raymond Massey||Dean Graham|
|Geraldine Brooks||Carol Graham|
A woman is found wandering Los Angeles, unable to say anything other than "David." Admitted to hospital, she is coaxed into recounting her life.Louise Howell is an emotionally unstable woman working as a nurse to the invalid wife of Dean Graham in the Graham home. Louise is in love with neighbor David Sutton, an engineer, who loathes her smothering obsession with him; he ends the relationship and leaves the area to Louise's great hurt. Shortly after, Graham's wife drowns. Louise remains in the home to care for the two Graham children: young Wynn and college-age Carol.Time passes and David re-enters the scene, having taken an engineering job with Graham. He is surprised to find Louise with the family. Louise — still obsessed with David — makes a pass and is rebuffed. Moments later, Graham proposes to Louise and she accepts to salvage her pride.Carol takes a fancy to David, much to the consternation of Louise, who tries to dissuade Carol from establishing a relationship with him. Louise's mind begins to decline with her obsession over David; she hears voices, has hallucinations, and believes her husband's first wife is still alive.When David and Carol consider marriage, Louise tries to end their relationship. Graham is concerned about Louise's mental state and tries to persuade her to see a doctor. Believing her husband, David, and Carol are all against her and trying to put her away, Louise bursts into David's apartment and kills him in a schizophrenic episode.The psychiatrist to whom Louise has recounted her story pronounces her insane and not responsible for her actions. He laments that he had not seen her sooner, as he is sure that if he had, the tragedy could have been avoided. He tells Graham that he intends to help Louise back to sanity, though the process will be long and arduous, with much pain and suffering in store for her. Graham pledges his full support and vows that he always be there for her, no matter how difficult it becomes.