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A Life of Her Own (1950)

Passed | | Drama | 1 September 1950 (USA)
A girl from Kansas arrives to New York City to become a model. Her further success brings her before moral choice.


George Cukor


Isobel Lennart
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Lana Turner ... Lily Brannel James
Ray Milland ... Steve Harleigh
Tom Ewell ... Tom Caraway
Louis Calhern ... Jim Leversoe
Ann Dvorak ... Mary Ashlon
Barry Sullivan ... Lee Gorrance
Margaret Phillips ... Nora Harleigh
Jean Hagen ... Maggie Collins
Phyllis Kirk ... Jerry
Sara Haden ... Smitty
Hermes Pan ... Specialty Dancer


Small town Kansas girl, Lily James, is the latest model working for the Thomas Callaway Agency in New York City. Despite her small town roots, Lily is street-wise because of her tough growing up experiences, and as such she is a good judge of character. She believes she can escape her troubles through professional success. Because of her hard work ethic, she quickly does rise to the top of her profession. She attracts the attention of Steve Harleigh, a wealthy copper mine owner. Despite they both knowing that nothing can come between them, they fall in love. The issues are that he lives and works in Montana, and that he is already married. Steve feels guilty about his marital infidelity as his wife, Nora, is physically disabled from a car accident in which he was the cause. Lily has to decide if her own happiness is worth destroying the life of a woman - an invalid - she's never met. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


LANA...as Lily James...a girl who knew what she wanted...and almost got it!




Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Jean Hagen and Tom Seidel were also married in real life. See more »


Lily James appears as "Top Model" on the cover of a Life magazine being read by Jim Leversoe. The scene immediately dissolves to the cover of the same Life magazine in a plane with Steve Harleigh, but the cover shot of the Life magazine on the plane is an entirely different pose (but the same outfit and hairdo). See more »


Lily Brannel James: I can't live without you... but I'm going to. I'm gonna turn my back on ya Steve, I'm sorry.
See more »


A Life of Her Own
Music by Bronislau Kaper
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User Reviews

Compelling For Those Who Prefer Darker Drama
23 July 2016 | by krocheavSee all my reviews

This is melodrama near it's best - offering style, class, surprisingly good performances and an almost believable script. George Cukor as director and George Folsey as director of photography are a solid combination - drawing the viewer into a rather engrossing drama. It's also quite unlike the general Hollywood production (it's reminiscent of the realistic sharp edge that might have come from a writer more like Clifford Odettes). As far as original screenplays go this must rank as one of writer Isobel Lennart's best dramatic character studies. And, could be one time that enforced studio alterations just may have improved the final outcome.

Turner is convincing as the small town girl striving for a modeling career in hard bitten N.Y. city. Milland is always reliable and carries his guilt ridden out-of-town businessman role with fitting aplomb. All performances by an unusually cast, fully professional ensemble, are strong. It could be said that Turner was a little too mature for her part and some script elements might not always gel but this remains class entertain for those that want their melodrama treated with less gloss and more character driven. It was obvious this material was never going to be popular stuff.

Bronislau Kaper's (Lili '53) dramatic but melodic score sets the emotional tone for this above average piece of storytelling and ranks as one of his best.

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Release Date:

1 September 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Abiding Vision See more »

Filming Locations:

Calabasas, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$1,818,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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