Deprived of a normal childhood by her ambitious mother, Katie, Lillian Roth becomes a star of Broadway and Hollywood before she is twenty. Shortly before her marriage to her childhood ...
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Deprived of a normal childhood by her ambitious mother, Katie, Lillian Roth becomes a star of Broadway and Hollywood before she is twenty. Shortly before her marriage to her childhood sweetheart, David Tredman, he dies and Lillian takes her first drink of many down the road of becoming an alcoholic. She enters into a short-lived marriage to an immature aviation cadet, Wallie, followed by a divorce and then marriage to a sadistic brute and abuser Tony Bardeman. After a failed suicide attempt, Burt McGuire comes to her aid and helps her find the road back to happiness after sixteen years in a nightmare world, not counting the first twenty with her mother. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Jo Van Fleet (Katie Roth) is just two and half years older than Susan Hayward (Lillian Roth). See more »
After Lillian loses out on an audition at age 8, her mother speaks to her on the street in front of a Dad's Root Beer sign. This takes place in 1918. Dad's Root Beer didn't exist until 1937. See more »
[alcoholic Lillian is desperate for a drink - mother drops the glass bottle on the floor, shattering it]
OH! Look what ya did! And ya DID IT ON PURPOSE! You're still trying to make me do what you want, to be what you want! I can't be anything except what I am! Look, look what did you drop that bottle for? What are you trying to do, drive me crazy? Go on, GET THE BOTTLE! GET IT NOW!
All right! All right! All right, it's my fault, huh? I made you become an actress, you didn't want to, all right. ...
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I'll Cry Tomorrow was the title of the autobiography of Lillian Roth, former singing star of the Twenties and Early Thirties whose career like her contemporary Helen Morgan took a nose dive into the toilet. Unlike Morgan, Roth survived to tell about it and became one of the first name clients of Alcholics Anonymous.
That does seem like an oxymoron because as an organization AA does survive on the anonymity of its members. But Lillian Roth went public with her story as a warning to those becoming to dependent on alcohol.
Susan Hayward gave one of her best screen performances ever in essaying the part of Lillian Roth. In fact she does her own singing here and even made a record of four of the songs she sang in this film, When the Red Red Robin, Happiness Is Just a Thing Called Joe, Sing You Sinners, and Waltz Hugette. She had previously played singers in With a Song In My Heart and Smash-Up, but was dubbed by others.
Hayward was an amazing talent, even in some of her worst films she comes across like no other actress. Even Bette Davis who could chew scenery in a bad film to make it entertaining could never hold a candle to my fellow Brooklynite, Susan Hayward. That she could sing too, is no surprise to me.
Probably Lillian Roth's best known screen roles are in Cecil B. DeMille's Madam Satan, in the Marx Brothers comedy, Animal Crackers and in the first screen version of the Vagabond King. The first two are out, I wish the third was also, a print might no longer exist.
Jo Van Fleet played Hayward's mother, the Jewish stage mother from the lower depths. Van Fleet gave one of her most acclaimed performances here. Her Jewish New York accent is the only clue to Lillian's ethnic background. It's a sad portrayal of a woman who both lived vicariously through her daughter and is pushing her because she wants her not to have as tough a life as she had.
Richard Conte, Ray Danton, Don Taylor, and Eddie Albert all play men in in Roth's life and though the protagonist is a woman, each of the guys makes an indelible image. Ray Danton plays her boyhood fiancé who dies young and helps start Lillian's downward spiral. In that Roth's story was very similar to that other star of the Twenties Marilyn Miller who lost a husband early and never recovered from it. That's all depicted in the Marilyn Miller biographical film, Look for the Silver Lining from 20th Century Fox a few years before this.
Hayward got a deserved Oscar nomination for this part, but lost to Anna Magnani. That was a year for substance abuse because Frank Sinatra got a nomination for playing a junkie in The Man With the Golden Arm. Both Sue and Frank went through gut wrenching withdrawal scenes in both films.
I'll Cry Tomorrow is always listed among the five best films of Susan Hayward's. It's some people's personal favorite and while mine happens to be I Want to Live, this one is right up there.
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