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Payment on Demand

Payment on Demand

Payment on Demand is a 1951 drama film directed by Curtis Bernhardt and starring Bette Davis and Barry Sullivan. The screenplay by Bernhardt and Bruce Manning chronicles a marriage from its idealistic early days to its dissolution.

Plot

In the opening scenes we meet San Francisco socialite Joyce Ramsey, her daughter Dee; Dee’s fiancée, a banker; Joyce’s husband, David; their daughter, Martha, a college student; Martha’s outspoken boyfriend, Phil Polanski, who is working his way through college to become an agricultural chemist. Joyce is concerned about Phil’s working-class background: His family is Czech and his father works as a taxi starter at the Union Terminal. Joyce is clearly accustomed to managing everything around her in order to maintain the position, family and success that she and David set out to achieve. David is preoccupied and unhappy, and while he is dressing for dinner, he suddenly asks for a divorce, which stuns her. He tells her he is leaving that night, prompting her to look back on their marriage.