From the legendary filmmaking duo Powell and Pressburger [A Matter of Life and Death, The Red Shoes], The Small Back Room is the story of the troubled love affair between a tormented back room scientist and a beautiful secretary, told against a background of ministerial intrigue and empire building.
Sammy Rice [David Farrar] was the army's finest bomb disposal officer until he was injured in the war and left with a false foot. Now part of a specialist 'back room' team, he dismantles the booby-trapped devices being dropped by Nazi bombers. He falls in love with Susan [Kathleen Byron], a colleague, and the two begin a secret affair. However, embittered by life, he feels inferior; inferior as a lover, inferior as a man unable to wear uniform; inferior in his work for, although a brilliant scientist, he allows himself to be exploited by his power-hungry boss. Haunted by his past, he drowns his sorrows in whiskey.
Sammy's life is descending into disarray when the news comes; a bomb has exploded with catastrophic consequences, and another has been found. Faced with the biggest challenge of his career, Sammy must confront his demons and take his own life in his hands to solve the mystery of the bomb's lethal mechanism.