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People at No. 19, The (1949)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

The young husband arrives home from work where a meal is promptly placed before him by his mother-in-law. The mood is light as they both laugh and joke with one another. His wife, Joan, has gone to the doctor for final confirmation of her pregnancy and is expected back any minute. Excited by the news that her daughter is pregnant, the mother disappears upstairs to look for some baby clothes.

In the meantime, Joan appears in the doorway, rain-drenched and bearing an expression of utter despair. Ken, not understanding, approaches her, but she pushes him away. After much coaxing, she finally blurts out the dreadful news that she has contracted syphilis.

Ken's conscience is clear - he had all the appropriate health checks and did not embark on any affairs during his time in the army. In a scene of bitter recrimination he forces a confession from her. She recounts how while on holiday with her former best friend, Doris, (who has since become a local prostitute) they met a couple of soldiers in a bar. Doris went off with one of them after they had all been drinking together, leaving Joan alone with the other. Joan struggles to recall what followed, having erased the experience from her mind. All she remembers is laughing and laughing and feeling that she was in love with the soldier.

Intermittently the parents enter the room to make congratulatory remarks to the young couple. Knowing that the time is now ripe for the young couple to move into their own place, the jovial father tells Ken that a friend of his is selling a house round the corner and suggests that Ken shouldn't waste time in taking a look.

Ken grabs his coat and is leaving the house when Joan appears in the hallway and asks him to wait for her. According to the doctor, with the right medical treatment Joan and the baby should be all right. Ken, it seems, might just have it in his heart to forgive her.