I'll Cry Tomorrow

I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955) is a biopic which tells the story of Lillian Roth, a Broadway star who rebels against the pressure of her domineering mother and struggles with alcoholism after the death of her fiancé. It stars Susan Hayward, Richard Conte, Eddie Albert, Margo, and Jo Van Fleet.

I'll Cry Tomorrow
Directed byDaniel Mann
Produced byLawrence Weingarten
Written byHelen Deutsch
Jay Richard Kennedy
Based onI'll Cry Tomorrow
1954 autobiography
by Lillian Roth
Mike Connolly
Gerold Frank
StarringSusan Hayward
Richard Conte
Eddie Albert
Jo Van Fleet
Music byAlex North
CinematographyArthur E. Arling
Edited byHarold F. Kress
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
December 25, 1955 (1955-12-25)
Running time
119 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$7,727,000[1] ($6,500,000[2])

The screenplay was adapted by Helen Deutsch and Jay Richard Kennedy from the 1954 autobiography by Lillian Roth, Mike Connolly and Gerold Frank. It was directed by Daniel Mann.

The film won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design for Helen Rose, and had three other Academy Award nominations, including Best Actress for Susan Hayward[3]. It was entered into the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.[4]


Eight-year-old Lillian Roth (Carole Ann Campbell) is constantly pushed by her domineering stage mom, Katie (Jo Van Fleet), to audition and act even though she is merely a child. One day, Katie finally secures an opportunity in Chicago, which leads to Lillian, now older (Susan Hayward), to having a successful musical career. Even though 20 years have passed, Katie is still managing Lillian as well as running her life and career choices.

Though her mother does not tell her, Lillian finds out that her childhood friend, David (Ray Danton), tried to get in contact with her. She visits him in the hospital and they soon fall in love. Because David is an entertainment company lawyer, he is able to secure Lillian shows at some big venues, including at the Palace Theatre. However, there is latent tension between David and Katie, because he feels that Katie is projecting her own ambitions onto Lillian and overworking her, while Katie feels a new man in Lillian's life only serves to distract from her high-profile career. When Lillian informs her mother she intends to marry David, Katie is disappointed and sees a repeat of her own life happening—giving up a career to have a husband and children. Suddenly, David falls ill and dies during the opening night of her show, and she is despondent having lost the love of her life.

Rebelling against her mother's domineering ways, Lillian turns to drinking. One night, in a drunken stupor, she goes out with a sailor, Wallie (Don Taylor), and ends up marrying him that night but not remembering it. They remain married, but the marriage is loveless from the beginning. The only thing the two have in common is drinking, and both drink to forget the present. Lillian's career suffers as a result of her persistent alcoholism, and she spends all her money without booking new shows. The two divorce after Wallie says he is "sick of being Mr. Lillian Roth."

Two years later, Lillian meets fellow alcoholic Tony Bardeman (Richard Conte) at a dinner party, and she falls for him. However, Lillian goes through alcohol withdrawal when she stops drinking to please her mother, and instead she turns to being a secret drinker. Her drinking gets worse when Tony goes home to California, but when he returns, Lillian begs him to stay with her. They decide to stop drinking together, but once they are married, Tony starts to drink and Lillian is outraged. When she tries to stop him from drinking and leave, he beats her.

She escapes Tony's clutches and goes to New York City to live with her mother, but contemplates suicide after a fight with her mother. Lillian goes to an Alcoholics Anonymous shelter, and suffers bouts of delirium tremens as she goes through withdrawals. She begins to fall for her sponsor, Burt McGuire (Eddie Albert), but the crippling effects of childhood polio make him wary of pursuing anything romantic. As she continues her recovery, she is ultimately invited to appear on the This Is Your Life television program to share her story of alcoholism and recovery.


Box office

According to MGM records the film made $5,873,000 in the US and Canada and $1,854,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $2,933,000.[1]


"Susan Hayward sings for the first time on the screen, and will win much applause for her throaty voice in such songs as Sing, You Sinners, When the Red, Red Robin (Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along), and I'm Sitting on Top of the World. She is supported by Ray Danton as the man whose death first upsets her; by Jo Van Fleet as her domineering mother who realises what she has done too late; Richard Conte, Eddie Albert and Don Taylor."[5]

Academy Awards


See also


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956 (at Heylookmeover (recovered 3 November 2017)
  3. "NY Times: I'll Cry Tomorrow". NY Times. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
  4. "Festival de Cannes: I'll Cry Tomorrow". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
  5. Picture Show, June 23, 1956
  6. "Oscars.org -- I'll Cry Tomorrow". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
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