Twenty-something Berry-Berry Willart (Warren Beatty) has left his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, to get away from his overbearing mother Annabell (Angela Lansbury) and alcoholic intellectual father Ralph (Karl Malden).
Berry-Berry is a wastrel who has always taken the easy way out, and will often use his good looks to take advantage of women, who are initially more than willing to help out this good-looking young man until they really get to know him.
But his parents – especially Annabell – believe he can do no wrong and his bright sixteen-year-old brother, Clinton (Brandon De Wilde), idolises him.
Although Berry-Berry originally has no intention of ever returning to Cleveland (which Ralph realises but Annabell refuses to acknowledge), he decides to head back but initially does not tell his family.
Berry-Berry’s trip home coincides with a visit to the Willarts from a family friend, thirty-one-year-old Echo O’Brien (Eva Marie Saint).
It’s love at first sight between Berry-Berry and Echo, though Clinton – who loves Echo himself – is afraid that Echo will end up just another one of the long string of women that Berry-Berry has abused. His fears are ultimately realised, and poor Echo is driven to suicide when she becomes pregnant and realises Berry-Berry had never intended to marry her.
Eva Marie Saint
Brandon De Wilde