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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>
Lillian Roth was disappointed that MGM did not ask her to sing for Susan Hayward on the soundtrack. Coordinated with the movie's release, Epic Records issued an album of Lillian reprising tunes associated with her career in vaudeville, on Broadway and in Hollywood. Containing 12 songs with an orchestra directed by Don Costa, the album used the same title ("I'll Cry Tomorrow") as Miss Roth's 1954 autobiography (co-written with Mike Connolly and Gerold Frank), plus the 1955 biopic. Miss Roth's LP contained the three complete numbers performed by Susan in the movie: "Sing You Sinners," "When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along" and "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe." Lillian's LP did not include "The Vagabond King Waltz" (sung partially on screen by Miss Hayward) nor the film's promotional song (music by Alex North, lyrics by Johnny Mercer), a mournful ballad introduced on disc by Susan, who was backed by Johnny Green and His Quartette. Initially, the Hayward cut was released by MGM Records on both a 45-rpm single (flip side: Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things") and on a six-selection EP. In 2004, the commercial theme recorded by Susan was reissued on the full soundtrack CD by Film Score Monthly. See more »
Although most of the film takes place in the 1920s and 1930s, the clothes, hairstyles, and musical arrangements are strictly in the much different style of the mid-1950s. 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. ...
[...] See more »
Based on Lillian Roth's autobiography - Hayward owns this role
I was shocked to learn that this was based on a true story about a singer/actress named Lillian Roth that was at her peak in the 1930's. That was well before my time, so no wonder I never heard of her. What a sad, tragic tale of alcoholism and the destruction it wrought in this woman's life. Add to that a driven stage mom who was pimping her and her sister out for entertainment - she first appeared on Broadway at the age of six. It's one thing when a child seeks out performing - but another when a parent pushes them.
I looked up photos of Lillian and she was a beautiful, vivacious looking woman in her youth. I didn't see any photos of her later in life - no telling what alcoholism did to her youth and beauty.
Hayward does an amazing job bringing this tragic tale to life. You feel every bit of her painful and tortured life. At first I thought this would be a typical 50's melodramatic soap opera tale. But it goes much deeper into a strong character study of this unfortunate woman's life and the leeches that attached themselves to her. I have not seen many of Hayward's performances but this undoubtedly has to be one of her finest. I was also impressed that Hayward did her own singing in this and did a good job of imitating Roth's deep vocal ranges and theatrical style. I listened to some of Roth's tunes on iTunes and was impressed with the similarity. However, if Roth were on American Idol today, Simon would slam her for being "over-the-top", too theatrical, and "over-singing". But that was the style back then.
My only criticism is that I'm not sure they went for realism in the retelling of the tale. It looks to be set more in the modern time is was filmed (1950's) rather than 30's and 40's when most of the events took place. Also, they kept Hayward's hair red rather than dark brown like Lillian's. Other than that, it was a very good film.
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