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In the Paris office of psychiatrist Andre Leclair, Marise Aubert discusses her failing marriage to Paul Aubert, a war veteran with whom she once was deeply in love. Marise relates the story of how she lost her love for Paul, beginning her tale at the time of his internment in a Nazi prisoner of war camp: At the camp, Paul meets fellow prisoner Jean Renaud, who listens to Paul's endless stories about the loving wife who awaits him at their seaside cottage in the Normandy fishing village of Kergat. One day, Paul is shot by Nazi guards while he and Jean attempt to escape from the camp. Shortly thereafter, Jean, believing Paul to be dead, travels to Kergat to meet the woman Paul praised so highly. When Jean enters Paul and Marise's cottage and plays the couple's favorite song on the piano, Marise, hearing the tune from a distance, believes that Paul has finally returned. She is shocked, however, when she discovers that the man playing is a stranger. Marise is further astonished when she realizes that Jean knows every detail about her personal life. Jean tells Marise that her husband died during the escape attempt, but he does not tell her that he left Paul to die on the outskirts of the camp. Jean, who has fallen in love with Marise based on Paul's stories about her, makes romantic advances toward her, but she rejects him. Marise asks Jean to leave, but a fierce rainstorm prevents his departure, and the following day he apologizes for his brusque manner. As the days pass, Marise begins to trust Jean, and invites him to stay in her home indefinitely. Jean and Marise's friendship soon turns to love, but Jean's hope for a happy future with Marise appears dashed when he finds a letter addressed to Marise from Paul, who is still alive. In the letter, which Jean hides from Marise, Paul writes that he is recuperating from his gunshot wounds at a military hospital and that he plans to return home in a short time. Desperate to continue his romance with Marise, Jean makes plans to flee Kergat with her before Paul arrives. Marise initially refuses to join Jean in Paris, but he eventually prevails and they make preparations to leave Kergat at once. While Marise meets with Father Donnard to discuss her future with Jean, Paul returns to Kergat and walks through the streets of the town. Hector, who has just bought Paul's business from Marise, is shocked to see Paul alive, and races to Father Donnard's to tell Marise the news. Marise, nearly overcome with joy, runs back to her cottage. Jean, meanwhile, goes to Father Donnard's to pick up Marise, and learns that Paul has returned to Kergat. Determined to keep Paul and Marise from reuniting, Jean runs to Paul's boathouse, grabs a gun and races to the cottage. Marise finds Paul before Jean does, and they embrace and kiss. However, their happy reunion is quickly tempered by Marise's confession that she has been involved romantically with Jean. Paul is upset at the news but promises Marise that he will show compassion toward his comrade if Jean can convince him that he did not attempt to deceive Marise. Jean and Paul find each other on a fog-shrouded cliff, where Jean fires a number of shots at Paul. He misses each time and soon runs out of bullets, however. Paul then pulls out his knife and approaches Jean, and the two men engage in a hand-to-hand battle at the cliff's edge. Marise, who has heard the gunshots, arrives at the cliff's edge just as Jean loses his footing and falls to his death. After coming out of her reverie and concluding her story for the doctor, Marise tells Dr. Leclair that since that tragedy, her feelings of guilt have prevented her from being a good wife to Paul. Acting on Dr. Leclair's advice, Marise decides to stop dwelling on the sorrows of her past and returns to Paul to start a new life with him.