Wealthy industrialist Enrico Fontana hires a detective to investigate the past of his young wife Paola, to whom he has been married for seven years. The detective Carloni goes to Ferrara where Paola had spent her youth. There he meets Matilde. She tells Guido, one of Paola's former lovers, that a suspicious man is investigating him. Paola starts seeing Guido again while the detective discovers that Giovanna, Guido's former girlfriend, died after falling into a lift shaft a few days before their wedding. A neighbour reports being surprised by Guido's cool reaction to the accident. Enrico, drunk after celebrating a successful deal, tells Paola about the detective who is making inquiries about her. The woman of course alerts Guido. We eventually learn that Guido had not warned Giovanna about the empty lift shaft and so was the cause of her death, because he wanted to be with Paola. Angry with her husband, she decides to arrange his murder with Guido but before they can do anything the husband dies alone in an accident. Now, remorseful because of Giovanna and what they were plotting, Guido decides to break it off with Paola, just at the moment when they would be free. Alain Resnais expressed the opinion that the film was "Pavesian" (referring to the writer Cesare Pavese), anticipating the fact that five years later Antonioni would adapt The Girl Friends from a Pavese story. Shot in Turin, Ferrara and Milan, the film won two Silver Ribbons: one for direction and one for the soundtrack.