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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Prisoners of Hope')

Directed by Irving Pichel
USA
1944

 

Alan Ladd, Loretta Young and Susan Hayward star in this powerful love story And Now Tomorrow about one woman’s extraordinary struggle over adversity. Emily Blair (Young) seems to have it all: money, prestige and independence. However, when her sense of hearing fades, her only hope lies with the young and determined Dr. Marek Vance (Ladd). As they search for a cure to her condition, hope gives way to unexpected romance in this screenplay co-written by famed detective novelist Raymond Chandler and featuring stunning costumes by Edith Head.

***

And Now Tomorrow has one of those titles which practically screams "silver screen soap opera," and that's pretty much what it is. "Soap opera" is a trifle strong, but this is definitely a melodrama, focusing on some overwrought emotional situations, rather than a serious drama that looks at real characters and real situations. It's the kind of film that's easy to take, because it plays up to a viewer's emotions without making any real demands on him. It sets up a situation which, yes, could theoretically actually happen in real life but likely would never happen to anyone watching the picture. There's nothing necessarily wrong with this, but it's the kind of set up that needs to be handled with greater skill and originality than it is given in the Frank Parton screenplay. Irving Pichel's direction also lacks imagination, but it has a professional sheen which is not unappealing; certainly Pichel knows how to frame his story and, more importantly, how to present his stars in a good light. And it's the cast that really makes Tomorrow worth watching. Loretta Young gets to be luminous and nobly tragic, yet with fire and spirit, and Alan Ladd gets to truck in his trademark masculinity mixed with petulance. Best of all, one gets to watch Susan Hayward doing her best to steal the spotlight from Young, and to enjoy a gifted supporting cast that includes Beulah Bondi, Cecil Kellaway and Barry Sullivan.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

***

Emily Blair, daughter of a wealthy manufacturing family, returns home to Blairtown after failing to find a cure for her deafness, which occurred in 1935 when she was stricken by meningitis. While on the train, Emily recalls how she collapsed from meningitis at a party celebrating her engagement to Jeff Stoddard, also of Blairtown's upper class. After she recovered, Emily insisted that she and Jeff postpone their wedding until she regained her hearing. Emily now arrives in Blairtown and shares a taxicab with Dr. Merek Vance, who grew up on the poor side of Blairtown and has been practicing medicine at a free clinic in Pittsburgh. Merek, whose father worked in the Blair's factory, is offended by Emily's snobbery, and is surprised to discover that she is an apt lip-reader. Unknown to Emily, Jeff and her sister Janice have fallen in love during her long absence, but Jeff refuses to tell Emily out of pity. Merek learns that he has been called back to Blairtown by Weeks, the town physician, because Weeks hopes that Merek, who has cured several deaf patients, can do the same for Emily.

Excerpt from theTCM located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 22nd, 1944

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DVD Review: Universal 'Vault Series' - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:25:39 
Video 1.30:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.2 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   
Bitrate:
Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
1.30:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: March 3rd, 2016

Keep Case
Chapters: 9

 

 

 

Comments:

And Now Tomorrow is a beautiful melodrama with two of my all-time favorites - Loretta Young and Alan Ladd. They escalate this film substantially higher, imo. I was very pleased seeing the chemistry of the leads - and their undeniable screen charisma. It does require a modicum of suspension of disbelief but you give over to exquisite melodramas in that regard.

The disc is, predictably, single-layered and has no menus, or extras, and the transfer is interlaced (see combing in a few of the sample captures.) Aside from that it was quite stable and watchable - the visuals are clean, showing texture and pleasing detail in close-ups. There are slim black borders on the side and the AR clocks in at 1.30:1. DoP Daniel L. Fapp's (The Big Clock, No Man of Her Own, Union Station) cinematography looks impressive.

The sound is also clean and dialogue is always audible. Victor Young's (Strategic Air Command, The Sun Shines Bright, Johnny Guitar, China Gate etc.) light score sounds supportive and authentically flat. There are no subtitles and the media is region free in the NTSC standard.  

The film works even with the obviousness which never devolves to the cloying - I, again, credit the two leads as well as Susan Hayward as the nasty sister - a distracting, relevant, foil. The Universal 'Vault Series" DVD price is too high so only true vintage cinema, and Ladd/Young, fans - who will re-watch many time, need consider. This reviewer qualifies. I loved every minute.  

Gary Tooze

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC
Recently Reviewed Universal 'Vault Series' DVDs



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