Fast-rising nightclub singer, Angie Evans, interrupts her career to marry struggling songwriter Ken Conway. When Ken lucks into a career as a chart-topping radio crooner, Angie's forced into idle luxury which proves her downfall. Her alcoholism grows ever more and Ken remains clueless concerning his part in her problems.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
According to Marsha Hunt in a November 1989 article for Films in Review, "I had a big fight onscreen with Susan Hayward in a powder room, and we went right at it... no retakes. The bruises were showing. It was a hard movie to make. Miss Susan Hayward never talked to her co-workers when waiting for a take. She took no interest in the rest of us. It was extremely strange -- as if we did not exist." See more »
Allegedly, Susan Hayward got this breakthrough role because every other Hollywood actress turned it down, due to the fact that it is the story of Bing Crosby's wife, Dixie Lee. Whatever, it got Susan an Oscar nomination and put her on the road to meatier parts.
As other comments have pointed out, this was probably considered very hard-hitting back in the day. But while it's true that "The Lost Weekend" tackled alcoholism, this is the story of a woman alcoholic, and that carries a lot of baggage with it - baggage Hollywood probably wasn't ready to face in 1947. One of the stereotypes of female alcoholism is promiscuity, a subject not broached here. Also, rather than a slovenly, bedraggled appearance, Hayward looks gorgeous throughout. Had this subject been handled more brutally, it would have been groundbreaking. In 1947, alcoholics like Gail Russell hid out at home, leading miserable, lonely lives. Here, Hayward gives up her own successful singing career to be the stay at home wife of Lee Bowman, whose career takes off. (In Bowman's dubbing, they even give him those mellow, rounded Crosby-like tones.) Boredom, feeling left out, and jealousy lead her to consume more and more alcohol, although it's clear from the beginning of the film that she drinks for courage before performing.
Her downward cycle and the ending of the movie are all a little too pat, but Hayward does a good job with the material she's given. Lee Bowman is miscast as her successful husband - he lacks the charisma, breezy manner, and flirtatiousness one would associate with a successful pop singer of the era and displays none of the ambition one would suspect Crosby and Sinatra, for instance, possessed. He also lacks the self-involvement one would associate with a star of that magnitude, which would in turn drive his wife out of his life. This is more the fault of the script and the direction, however.
Eddie Albert is charming and gives an honest performance as partner and concerned friend.
Recommended if you want to see a young Susan Hayward in a meaty role.
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