William Holden stars as an American artist who becomes involved with the sordid underworld of prostitution in Hong Kong in The World of Suzie Wong, based on Paul Osborn's Broadway adaptation of the novel by Richard Mason. Holden is American architect Robert Lomax, who travels to Hong Kong to paint. He meets Suzie Wong (Nancy Kwan), an attractive woman who passes herself off as a high-society heiress. It is with great surprise that Robert spots her in a Hong Kong dive entertaining a bunch of sailors. It turns out that Suzie is a prostitute and Robert has observed her plying her trade. Suzie proposes that Robert put her up as a kept woman, but Robert will hear nothing of it, preferring to use her as a model for his paintings instead. Suzie then becomes involved with playboy Ben Marlowe (Michael Wilding), while Robert meets Kay O'Neill (Sylvia Syms), a British banker's daughter, who helps Robert to sell his paintings. But Ben breaks off his relationship with Suzie and Kay, uncomfortable with Suzie the prostitute posing for Ben, leaves him. Abandoned by their lovers and thrown together, the two become involved, with tragic consequences.