Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 1947. Walter Wanger Productions. Story by Dorothy Parker, Frank Cavett, Screenplay by John Howard Lawson, additional dialogue by Lionel Wiggam. Cinematography by Stanley Cortez. Produced by Walter Wanger. Music by Frank Skinner. Production Design by Alexander Golitzen. Costume Design by Travis Banton. Film Editing by Milton Carruth.
Exceedingly talented singer Susan Hayward gives up her career to be supportive of her equally gifted crooner husband (Lee Bowman), taking up residence as his housewife during their early struggle before he makes it big with the bobby-soxers and she finds herself surrounded by luxury. She also surrounds herself with bottles, seeking refuge in alcohol and spiraling downward as her husband becomes more and more successful. This melodramatic “issue” picture deals with its subject as poorly as all Hollywood films trying to hit the tough buttons did in the post-WWII era. Hayward really lays it on thick, tripping over furniture and slurring all her dialogue in her more demanding scenes, while director Stuart Heisler shoots her in glinty black and white with a musical score that overkills her every emotional impulse. This isn’t, of course, to say that the film doesn’t have a kitschy appeal to it, but its dramatic intensity, should it have had any to begin with, has not survived the decades. It did, however, lead to better things for Hayward, who became established as a dramatic icon and would find much better roles in With A Song In My Heart (my particular favourite) and her Oscar-winning I Want To Live.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Actress (Susan Hayward); Best Motion Picture Story