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>
Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Errol Morris named it as one of his 10 favorite films in the 2002 BFI Sight & Sound Poll. See more »
Near the end of the film, Cliff bumps the toy robot on the table, starting it walking towards the camera and he walks back to the shop window. The camera starts tracking forward and as the toy robot is walking forwards out of the shot, bottom left, the shadow of the camera falls across the toy robot. See more »
Sirk's most overlooked movie - certainly amongst his best
Douglas Sirk is renowned for injecting his subversive criticism of American society of the fifties in his glossy and glamorous melodramas. What made this palatable to the public, who flocked in droves, was the fact that the families involved were showbiz families ("Imitation of Life"), filthy rich oil magnates ("Written in the Wind") or highly idealized to the point of caricature ("All that Heaven Allows", "Magnificent Obsession"), far from the average movie goers own social milieu. And of course up there on the screen were the glamorous stars, Rock Hudson, Lana Turner, Lauren Bacall, Dorothy Malone, etc. Movie fans will recall the aforementioned movies when the topic of Sirk's movies arises. It is highly unlikely that "There's Always Tomorrow" will get a mention. "There's Always Tomorrow" has barely any gloss or glamour. The social criticism is completely without disguise. The family in question is one that the vast majority of movie goers could very easily identify with. Its stars (Fred MacMurray and a not so young Barbara Stanwyk) are not glamorous. While audiences left the cinema entranced by the glorious melodrama of "Imitation of Life" and "Written on the Wind", they would have left "There's Always Tomorrow" feeling a lot less secure about their own lives, since it's a film that touches on a fair amount of "dangerous" territory, calling into question the very foundations of the American family. Douglas Sirk's sense of irony has never been sharper. The title brims with optimism and the film opens with the script, "Once Upon a Time in Sunny California". But what unfolds is a bleak, pessimistic depiction of middle class family life.
While Sirk's films have often been branded "woman's pictures", "There's Always Tomorrow" is indeed very much a man's picture. It takes a hard and deep look at the role of the male breadwinner and the picture it comes up with is not a pretty one. What we are shown is a man who when young, courted the prettiest girl, married, had children and worked hard to build up a successful business. He is now middle aged and having achieved it all, begins to feel himself taken for granted by his wife and children. His needs are completely neglected. His wife has little interest in him sexually being totally wrapped up in fulfilling the unending needs of their self centered ungrateful children. It's a scenario all too familiar to millions of men. Fred MacMurrays's Clifford Groves has become a robot similar to the one his successful toy manufacturer has created. No wonder that Norma Vale's (Stanwyk) reappearance in his life presents an opportunity to regain his lost dreams. She's an independent career woman, who sees his situation as somewhat idyllic from the outside. But with the usual intelligence of a Stanwyk character, she has no illusions as to a possible future with him. Despite the brief and obligatory conciliatory ending, Clifford Groves' future does not bode well. It should come as no surprise that the film was not well received at the box office.
"There's Always Tomorrow" has many of the hallmarks of Sirk's craftsmanship. The studio refused to grant him his request for the film to be shot in color, despite having provided Universal with some of its highest grossing pictures of the decade. At least his demand for his favorite cameraman Russell Metty was granted. Metty as always, was the perfect partner in realising Sirk's vision. His interior filming in particular is a lesson in cinematography. He had a penchant for shooting characters behind banisters, framed in mirrors and caged behind fences to enhance the sense of their being trapped. MacMurray and Stanwyk are constantly gliding through dark shadow and bright light reflecting the inherent brightness and darkness in their lives.
At this point of writing "There's Always Tomorrow" has not been released in any format and rarely gets a showing on television. It's a gross injustice to an extremely important director and a wonderfully made, moving piece of cinema.
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