As the movie opens, we are hurtling through space, meteors zooming towards us ... titles begin:
More shots of space, now approaching earth...then a golden costume of a red-haired spacewoman appears in the cockpit of an alien spaceship -- scene is shot from behind the flight seat. Brief close-ups reveal Ibsen's enigmatic female character, which the classic play centers around.
Earth approaches [from actual NASA space shots, secured by the producer from the space agency,] a bluish planet with clouds circling about its surface, with the moon surface in the foreground. This is a real shot of earth from a ship as it passes by the moon. [Our Space Program finally paid off!]
Suddenly there's trouble with the space craft, our heroine shakes and rolls and the ship crashes like a rocket coming down at a sharp angle and hitting the ground. The female figure of LYDIA emerges out of the smoldering wreckage and runs off towards the camera and the ship cockpit explodes in the background.
Rest of main titles appear in order. Next morning she discovers the planet she's landed on, finds a stream and feels the water for the first time, rubbing it on her face. The alien scales on her face fall off! She takes on human form -- simply, only the face shows it. She wanders off through cactus fields and hills and ends up discovering a habitation in the distance by a crater. It's now sunset.
Ten years later... She's on a beach...already married to a scientist, played by BURT WARD ["Robin" in BATMAN] as WAYNE. In the first sequence, we learn that LYDIA is troubled. She's unhappy about her life in general. There is no apparent reason. Perhaps she's lonely for outer space.
Second sequence, Lydia finds out from a local artist, ANDY that a spaceman she was once engaged to, ten years earlier, may be alive, having survived a shipwreck. LYDIA is even more troubled when she learns from the unsuspecting artist that the spaceman, known only as THE STRANGER, actually intends to find and reclaim her.
In the following sequences, she confronts her husband WAYNE about the impending arrival of THE STRANGER, about the promise she'd given him, indeed, a "marriage" of sorts, and her need to come to grips with her decision to receive the stranger and resolve the issue.
Was it really her decision, to marry WAYNE in the first place, or was she pressured into it? The concept of LYDIA making her decision of her "own free will" becomes the central theme of this movie, to go with THE STRANGER or stay with WAYNE.
THE STRANGER turns up. And he wants to take her away. He will come back for her later, the following day, he assures her. He tells her she must get ready. She must make up her mind one way or the other, because this is the only chance. More drama ensues, as she's horrified by the proposal, yet feels a certain thrill to be asked.
LYDIA finally decides to stay with WAYNE, but, not until he gives her up so that she can make up her own mind "of her own free will." His selfless love for her wins her over in the end, as they enter their spaceship and blast off into space.