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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Political drama about a honest but naive gubernatorial candidate who is manipulated by his corrupt campaign manager and is forced to temporarily cede power to his wife, a woman of integrity despite her shameful past.
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 <email@example.com>
Appearing together for the only time on film were Eddie Albert (playing Burt McGuire) and his wife Margo (portraying Selma). The couple were wed from December 5, 1945 until Margo's death on July 17, 1985. 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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"This story was filmed on location...inside a woman's soul!"
MGM director Charles Walters was originally assigned to I'll Cry Tomorrow; and wanted to cast June Allyson (who was not unlike the young Lillian Roth, in some respects). Walters wanted to start with Roth as an innocent girl, slowly chipping away at the surface, until the innocence was eaten away by fear. He knew June was tougher than people realized, and was certain she would excel. They had been working on the role, when Susan Hayward decided she wanted it. Taking her case to Roth herself, she eventually prevailed, causing Walters to quit, noting that Hayward had already played an alcoholic, in Smash Up (1947), and a famous singer who faced tragedy, in With A Song In My Heart (1952). By the way, if you sometimes get all three of these pictures mixed up, join the club.
At any rate, there are people who think Hayward was brilliant in this film, and those who feel she overdid it. Not over-acting, but perhaps, over-feeling. I fall into the latter category. She starts in a rather high gear, and just goes higher. While she's commendably emotional, and touching, I think we lose track of the story and the character, due to the focus on unbridled histrionics. Eventually, she just seems to be devouring everything in her path - including the movie. If this fascinates you, well, it fascinated me, too, but is it a performance?
Jo Van Fleet (in the role Walters wanted Mary Astor for) doesn't exactly back away from the big gesture, herself. A good actress with a nice understanding of the material, she nonetheless pulls out the stops, giving us the long-suffering mama complete with European accent (Roth found this surprising, noting that her mother actually only had a Boston accent). Much younger than her part, she does a good job - but the histrionics may wear you out. Especially when she and Hayward go at it hammer and tong.
As for the singing of Susan Hayward, you probably won't be asking yourself what took her so long to decide to sing in motion pictures. She does reasonably well, but it's not the voice or style of a successful professional singer.
Towards the end, we have Eddie Albert and his real-life wife, Margo (whom you may remember had a problem when she tried to leave Shangri-La, in Lost Horizon, back in 1937). They help Susan - I mean, Lillian - get back on her feet, with the assistance of Alcoholics Anonymous. If you're still around (and why not? It's a fairly gripping picture, overall) you may be touched, and a little relieved, that the shouting, and maybe even the singing, is over for a while.
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