This drama is taken from Thomas Mann's 1903 semi-autobiographical novel. Tonio (Jean Claude Brialy) is an aspiring writer and the son of a rigid aristocratic father and a music-loving mother. Wandering throughout Germany and Italy to "find himself," Tonio frequently remembers his childhood experiences in a series of flashbacks. The highlight of the film is the expert lensing by cinematographer Wolf Wirth. Erika Mann, the daughter of the late poet and author, collaborated with Ennio Flaiano on the screenplay.