The jazz pianist Laurent LeClaire returns to New Orleans from World War II and runs into his old friend Camille Raquin who is a frail man with an overprotective mother. Camille is married to his own cousin, Therese. Laurent falls in love with Therese, they become lovers, and conspire to kill her husband.
Laurent murders Camille, who is pushed over the side of a rowboat. The news of his death sends Camille's mourning mother into a crippling stroke.
After waiting a year, Laurent marries his friend's widow, but every time he tries to touch her, the ghost of Camille appears and drives them apart. In time, Therese is driven into madness and suicide, and Laurent kills himself.
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