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Clifford Groves, toy manufacturer, is in full charge at the factory but feels left out and taken for granted by his wife and children at home. Alone and depressed, he meets old flame Norma, and one thing leads to another. While their relationship is still fairly innocent, his son Vinnie sees them together and suspects the worst. It's time for tortured souls behind rain-streaming windows... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Joan Bennett star in "There's Always Tomorrow," directed by Douglas Sirk and featuring William Reynolds, Gigi Perreau, Judy Nugent, and Pat Crowley as the young people.
MacMurray is a successful toy developer, Clifford Groves, married to Marion (Bennett), and they have three children (Reynolds, Perreau, and Nugent). Marion is preoccupied with the kids and the household, while MacMurray is longing for some alone time with her and to do something different - take a weekend off, go to the theater -- but something always happens that prevents it.
When Marion can't make a theater performance because of their daughter's dance recital, Cliff stays home alone. A woman who once worked for him, Norma Vale (Stanwyck) comes over to say hello. She's now a successful dress designer in from New York. He takes her to the theater instead, and then she asks to see his office.
When a planned weekend in the desert with Marion doesn't work out because one of the girls breaks her ankle, Marion insists that Clifford go without her and relax. There, he runs into Norma again. Unfortunately, his son (Reynolds) shows up and thinks Cliff and Norma are involved. He and his friends leave without making their presence known to his dad. Without realizing what's happening, Cliff is falling for Norma; and he doesn't know that she's always been in love with him.
This is a midlife crisis, '50s style, with the underpinning of the grass is always greener. That wasn't the original intention, of course
the original intention of the film is that Norma is lonely and would
give up her wonderful career to have a family like Marion and Cliff have. People still feel this way, but today, it's more because of the road not taken, not so much because of dissatisfaction. Nothing's perfect, as the film shows us. Cliff sees Norma's freedom, the attention she pays him, her interest in his work. He feels in fourth place behind the kids to Marion. He's sick of being like the robot that is his latest toy. You wind him up, he works, he comes home, he has dinner, he goes to bed. With Norma he sees an opportunity for something different. Youth. To be put first. Endless possibility.
What a lovely movie, and I thought I was sitting down to some second feature. Instead, it has Sirk's magic touch and his sly criticism of the picture-perfect '50s American life. Frankly, I could have slapped the kids and Marion for not seeing what's in front of their faces, but to be fair, kids are self-involved, and Marion is completely committed to doing what she thinks is important for Cliff and their family.
Wonderful acting, with MacMurray as the frustrated Everyman, Bennett as an attractive, disciplined woman, and Stanwyck has someone who has earned wisdom the hard way, through hard work and disappointment.
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