Every female star in Hollywood wanted to play Roth in MGM's film version of I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955) -- among those in the running were Jane Russell, Jane Wyman, Janet Leigh, Jean Simmons, Piper Laurie, and Grace Kelly. June Allyson seemed to have the inside track, until another actress took matters into her own hands. Susan Hayward wrote to studio head Dore Schary that the story "combines the best elements of my two favorite films, Smash-Up  and With a Song in My Heart ." Both films had earned the actress Academy Award nominations for her performances. Hayward also lobbied to get Lillian Roth on her side, studying Roth's performances in Las Vegas, and later visiting Roth in Beverly Hills, and talking with her for hours. Roth was convinced Hayward was the woman for the role. "We were both so emotional about things that when we faced each other it was almost like looking into a mirror. I was looking at Lillian and she was looking at Susan." Not only did Hayward get the part, she also got the script re-written for her, and the director of her choice, Daniel Mann.
Theatrical Release: December 25th, 1955
DVD Review: Warner - Region 1,2,3,4 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||Warner Home Video - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 5.55 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
|Subtitles||English, English (CC), French, None|
I'd have to say that this dual-layered, anamorphic and progressive transfer from Warner is a notch below standard. Digital noise is quite heavy and contrast a shade 'dusty'. It never exhibits stellar detail and there are some occasional speckles. I'm sure the source print is weak but it doesn't appear to have gone through the usual Warner restoration system for a vintage film. It has optional subtitles and the audio is clear and clean. It is coded for regions 1 thru 4 in the NTSC standard. On the positive I don't see any excessive manipulation although it does has a tendency to look overly bright at times.
Supplements include some related material. Story Conference is a 1934 Musical / Comedy / Short with Lillian Roth (as herself) - it runs about 20 minutes and is a perfect addition for people to see the performer who the biopic is based. The rest is some glad-handing - awards ceremonies, meetings at the Premiere etc. plus there is the film's trailer. Warner did some homework for these extras and it's appreciated.
I've always found Susan Hayward to be somewhat of an enigma. In the past I rarely buy into her performances - finding them excessively 'over the top'. This role actually called for it at times and it seems better suited to her style. I am, though, high on the supporting cast - Conte (a fav), Van Fleet (underrated) and steady Eddie Albert give grand assistance to the unpleasant tale of miserables. Today it might seem 'obvious cornball' but as a campy vehicle I kinda liked it - Hayward is perfectly at home here. Just be prepared.