When Tomorrow Comes (film)

When Tomorrow Comes is a 1939 American romantic drama directed by John M. Stahl and starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. The screenplay concerns a waitress who falls in love with a man who later turns out to be a married concert pianist. Bernard B. Brown won the Academy Award for Best Sound.[2]

When Tomorrow Comes
Directed byJohn M. Stahl
Produced byJohn M. Stahl
Screenplay byDwight Taylor
Story byJames M. Cain
"A Modern Cinderella"
StarringIrene Dunne
Charles Boyer
CinematographyJohn J. Mescall
Edited byMilton Carruth
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • August 11, 1939 (1939-08-11) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1 million[1]

A scene in the movie where the two protagonists take refuge from a storm in a church was the subject of Cain v. Universal Pictures, a case in which the writer James M. Cain sued Universal Pictures, the scriptwriter and the director for copyright infringement. Judge Leon Rene Yankwich ruled that there was no resemblance between the scenes in the book and the film other than incidental "scènes à faire", or natural similarities due to the situation, establishing an important legal precedent.[3]


A married pianist (Charles Boyer) deserts his mentally troubled wife when he falls in love with a pretty waitress (Irene Dunne).



  1. "1939 Hollywood Toppers". Variety. 3 January 1940. p. 28.
  2. "The 12th Academy Awards (1940) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-11.
  3. Yankwich, Leon Rene (December 14, 1942). "CAIN v. UNIVERSAL PICTURES CO., Inc., et al". District Court, S. D. California, Central Division. Retrieved 2012-06-20.

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