Period of Adjustment (1962) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • On December 23rd, Korean War veteran George Haverstick and nurse Isabel Crane - who George lovingly refers to as "Little Bit" - get married in a civil ceremony. They met when George was admitted to Belvedere General Hospital in St. Louis for a nervous shake, with Isabel being his night nurse. They got married immediately following his release, which occurred despite the doctors never discovering the reason for his affliction. They plan on honeymooning in Miami, and stopping in suburban High Point, Tennessee along the way to visit George's best friend, fellow Korean War vet Ralph Bates, and Ralph's wife of six years, Dorothea Bates. By the time they arrive on the Bates' doorstep on Christmas Eve, George and Isabel are hardly speaking to each other when they aren't yelling at each other as each had a preconceived notion of their role in the marriage incompatible with the other, and a romanticized view of how the other should behave. Ralph's marriage is currently in no better shape. Dottie has just left him, taking their infant son Junior with her. Although he never stated such to her, Ralph married insecure Dottie despite not loving her because her wealthy father, for who he worked, promised him the family business as an inheritance. Ralph and Dottie's current problem is primarily because Ralph could no longer stand her parent's pretentious and overbearing ways, both professionally and personally. Although Ralph, George and Isabel seem blind to the source of and solution to their own marital problems, each seems to have a clearer view of what ails the other couple and how best to fix their marriage.

  • George Haverstick, a Korean war veteran, hastily marries Isabel, whom he met in hospital while he was recovering from a nervous condition. To Isabel's horror, they drive to Florida on their honeymoon in an old hearse. They spend much of the time quarreling, and then, on Christmas eve, they visit George's war buddy, Ralph Baltz. However Ralph's wife Dorothea has just walked out on him, taking their child. Each couple then observes the marital difficulties of the other couple.


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  • George Roy Hill's first directorial effort sets the only comedic play of Tennessee Williams. It is Christmas eve in High Point, Tennessee. Dottie Baitz walks out on her husband, Ralph, after dealing with five years of realization he only proposed to her her because her sickly dad suggested her new husband could quickly inherit his vast personal wealth and coveted corporate holdings. George Haverstraw is Ralph's former Korean war buddy, whom he hasn't seen in years. George developed shock, and, with it, performance anxiety, during the war. He shows up on Ralph's lonely doorstep to deposit his new bride, whom he calls Little Bit, a love and companionship starved nurse who apparently just eloped with him on a dare. When George returns to drink with his war buddy, Ralph figures out that George could learn to properly pay attention to his new wife and George figures out that Ralph could properly tell off his overbearing, bullying.in-laws, who soon show up to grab all his possessions and hopefully leave him homeless and peniless now that their daughter has come to her senses and abandoned him. The ruckus ends up with all six Principals in night court, told by the sergeant of police this is not a matter the law can straighten out for them. They return to Ralph and Dottie's house. In the bedroom, Ralph tells Dottie he always had feelings for her. On the pull out sofa in the living room, Little Bit tells George that married couples have endless time to polish their love making routines, placing no pressure on each other..

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