Catherine (Juliet Berto) is the temporary head of the family while her husband, whom she loathes, is away fighting in the war. Her widowed sister-in-law Suzanne (Anna Prucnal) lives with her, and after awhile it becomes apparent that Catherine loathes her as well. The children in the house are all boys -- Catherine has two sons, twelve and thirteen, and Suzanne also has a twelve-year old. While the relationship between Suzanne and Catherine is coming to a head, Catherine is having an affair with an army officer, and the boys in the family are planning a musical performance for everyone. The crescendo may be barely audible at the beginning, but it builds up to a tragedy at the end.