Luchino Visconti directs this psychological drama starring Burt Lancaster. The film follows an American professor (Lancaster) who opts for a quiet retirement in the solitary Roman palazzo he has inherited from his mother. But when the room upstairs is rented to a vulgar Italian family, led by Marchesa Bianca Brumonti (Silvana Mangano), his cosy, ordered life is completely turned upside down by their antisocial lifestyle. As he becomes more involved in their affairs, against his better judgement, the professor is forced to face his latent homosexuality and his approaching death. The cast also includes Helmut Berger, Claudia Marsani and Stefano Patrizi.