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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Video Beaverhausen: Susan Hayward in I'll Cry Tomorrow

This was Susan Hayward's first of two Best Actress Oscar wins (the next would be for I Want to Live; both biopics). Being a star vehicle, the red-headed Hayward refused to go brunette to portray Lillian Roth, obviously thinking nobody knows what she looked like anyway, plus the film was in black-and-white.

Roth was what may seem to some to be a paradox: Jewish and alcoholic. But, believe me, I've known quite a few in my life. One, a woman named Ruth who set her apartment on fire when she passed out with a cigarette and two children in their penthouse.

Much later, she tragically died by passing out and bleeding to death after her head hit the coffee table. After that, her son and daughter paid for her burial but refused to attend. The rabbi gave a damning speech that shocked us before she was put to rest.

But enough about Ruth and more about Roth as I digressed!

The screenplay of I'll Cry Tomorrow is by Helen Deutsch, who blames Roth's stage-door mother for her problem. Very Freudian. Mom is played by the brilliant and intimidating Jo Van Fleet. Richard Conte and Ray Danton play the men in Susan's life. Hayward sang her own songs in this one, babies, and don't you ever forget it even if Broadway doesn't go for booze and dope!

Nothing's better than Susan playing the martyr, however. We expect as much from her. And nothing's better than her reprising playing a drunk as she did in Smash-up! She does it so convincingly!

There are marital problems, tragic losses, divorces, and domestic abuse. Great suffering Susan! Of course, as in Smash-up, there's her male friend, again played by Eddie Albert, to lead the way, getting more romantic with her on this outing.

Oddly, when Lillian Roth is seen at the AA meeting, everyone gets up and gives their full names. The total antithesis of Anonymous. Just not how it really goes, fyi.

Beautiful  black-and-white cinematography by Arthur E. Arling.

Moments of this movie were spoofed in John Waters' Polyester with Divine.

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