Screenplay: Beverley Cross
(based on "Kipps" by H. G. Wells)
Director: George Sidney
Choreographer: Gillian Lynne
"Half a Sixpence" is the story of store clerk Arthur Kipps' good and bad fortunes, as he goes from poverty to wealth and back to poverty. Kipps, as his fortunes change, goes from his childhood sweetheart, Ann, to a wealthy socialite, but eventually Arthur remembers his roots and returns to Ann. The movie of "Half a Sixpence" is based on the play that was based on the novel, "Kipps," by H. G. Wells. The play and movie were written specifically for Tommy Steele.
Arthur Kipps (Tommy Steele) is a clerk in a department store in England, working for a boss who treats his employees poorly. The other male clerks, Arthur's friends, and Arthur live in the basement of the store, work for low wages and get almost no time off.
Arthur has a girlfriend, Ann, who has been writing to him since he was a young boy, and Arthur loves Ann. He gets a letter from her that she is coming to see him. They meet, after not seeing each other for years, and they express their love for each other and agree to marry.
The next day, Arthur's boss sends him to an art class taught by Helen, the daughter of a rich patron. Before Arthur can go to the class, he accidently meets an eccentric actor, Harry Chitterlow, who tells Arthur that he read Arthur's name in the newspaper and he is the beneficiary of someone who recently died and Arthur should inherit some money. Arthur goes to celebrate with Chitterlow and his friends and, while drunk, meets his boss who makes him go to the art class.
Arthur falls for the beautiful and elegant Helen and forgets about Ann and his date with her. When Ann sees Arthur the next day, she breaks off their engagement.
In the meantime, Harry has learned that Arthur has inherited a great sum of money and he tells Arthur the good news. Arthur quits his job and travels and forgets about his old friends. When he returns, he courts Helen and she introduces him to her investor brother who convinces Arthur to entrust his wealth to him.
Ann, in the meantime, has become a servant to a friend of Helen's family and Arthur meets her again when he attends a social function with Helen at this friend's estate. Arthur is appalled at the way Ann is treated and he goes to her and they are reunited in love.
Ann and Arthur marry but Arthur's obsession with using his wealth to move up the social ladder drives a wedge between them. Arthur then discovers that Helen's brother embezzled money and invested his inheritance unwisely and Arthur finds himself poor again. He returns, disheartened, to Ann and she reminds him of how happy and in love they were when all they had was half a sixpence.