Vivien Leigh plays Karen Stone, a middle-aged actress whose career is in a tailspin. To assuage her hurt feelings, Karen goes on a vacation to Rome with her husband, who dies en route. Her best friend (Coral Browne) compassionately arranges for a young Italian escort (read: gigolo) to keep Karen from wallowing in her grief in Rome. The man hired for the task is sneering, contemptuous Pablo di Leo, played by Warren Beatty. Despite Pablo's rude behavior, the lonely Karen throws herself at him, showering him with expensive gifts and demanding his undivided attention. This being an adaptation of a Tennessee Williams novel, Blanche Dubois-er, Karen Stone must pay the piper for her eleventh-hour surfeit of passion; she is dispensed with by an "Angel of Death" in the form of psycho Jeremy Spencer.