Though he has come from a rough background on the streets, Muraki (Horoki Matsukata) quickly rises through the ranks by means of his well-honed blackmailing instincts. Desperate to keep rolling with his freewheeling lifestyle, Muraki sees his luck begin to crumble when he sets his sights on the business partners of a powerful gang boss.
When former POW, Paolo, returns from India to his middle-class home in Rome at the end of the war, he is relieved to find his wife, Patrizia, and young son alive, managing to get by thanks to Patrizia’s business in lampshades. They also enjoy the moral support of the jovial, elderly Neapolitan widower, who is their new neighbour, Il professore. However disaster strikes when Patrizia commits a murder – her response to a mysterious man’s attempt to blackmail her to have sex with him. Paolo discovers that during his absence, in the face of their son’s desperate need for a life-saving operation, Patrizia prostituted herself once to the murdered man to raise the funds, a sequence revealed through a flashback sequence…
Alice White is the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920's London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber is a Scotland Yard detective who seems more interested in police work than in her. Frank takes Alice out one night, but she has secretly arranged to meet another man. Later that night Alice agrees to go back to his flat to see his studio. The man has other ideas and as he tries to rape Alice, she defends herself and kills him with a bread knife. When the body is discovered, Frank is assigned to the case, he quickly determines that Alice is the killer, but so has someone else and blackmail is threatened.
A spoiled rich girl hatches a plot with her hippie boyfriend and his friends to "kidnap" her so they can get a large ransom from her wealthy father. However, she didn't count on her villainous, money-crazed stepmother to involve herself in the plot, and things begin to go terribly wrong.