The action takes place in the small Carbone apartment under the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge where the Sicilian-American longshoreman Eddie, his wife Beatrice, and his niece Catherine live. Beatrice's cousins, Rodolpho and Marco, have entered the country illegally, and Eddie hides them from the police in his apartment. Marco is married and intent on finding work in order to send money back to his family; his brother Rodolpho, handsome and open to adventure, pays court to Catherine, who falls in love with him. Eddie's position is now unbearable: He is unwilling to acknowledge his erotic attraction to Catherine, which he expresses by an overly scrupulous devotion to her welfare, but Beatrice knows and is deeply hurt because Eddie no longer makes love to her. Out of jealousy of Rodolpho, Eddie betrays the brothers to the police to prevent the lovers from marrying. Marco spits in his face and taunts Eddie contemptuously; Eddie attacks him with a knife and Marco turns the weapon fatally against Eddie.
courtesy of Theodore Presser Company