Deprived of a normal childhood by her ambitious mother, Katie, Lillian Roth becomes a star of Broadway and Hollywood before she is twenty. Shortly before her marriage to her childhood ... See full summary »
On trial for murdering his girlfriend, philandering stockbroker Larry Ballentine takes the stand to claim his innocence and describe the actual, but improbable sounding, sequence of events that led to her death.
Madeleine Damien is the fashion editor of a slick Manhattan magazine by day and a lively party girl by night. Unfortunately, the pressures of her job, including kowtowing to a hefty ... See full summary »
Fast-rising nightclub singer, Angie Evans, interrupts her career to marry struggling songwriter Ken Conway. When Ken lucks into a career as a chart-topping radio crooner, Angie's forced into idle luxury which proves her downfall. Her alcoholism grows ever more and Ken remains clueless concerning his part in her problems.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Reportedly suggested by the life and career of Bing Crosby and songstress wife Dixie Lee; when his popularity as an entertainer eclipsed that of Lee, she drifted into extreme alcoholism, just as Susan Hayward's character does in film. See more »
"Life Can Be Beautiful, How Do I Know? Somebody Beautiful Just Told Me So"
In the Citadel Film Series, The Films of Susan Hayward, the authors put forward the proposition that if The Lost Weekend had not come out the year before and carried all the awards it won, Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman might have garnered a lot more acclaim and maybe an Oscar for Susan Hayward.
As it is the film got two Oscar nominations for Best Story by Dorothy Parker and Frank Cavett and for Best Actress for Susan Hayward. It was Hayward's first of five nominations and she lost to Loretta Young for The Farmer's Daughter. That in itself was an upset because odds-makers had Rosalind Russell the favorite for Mourning Becomes Electra. Rounding out the field were Dorothy McGuire for Gentleman's Agreement and Joan Crawford for Possessed.
At the time Smash-Up came out there were hushed rumors going around that this film was based on the troubled marriage of Bing Crosby and Dixie Lee. Having just read a biography of Gene Autry that came out last year an equally good case can be made for it being modeled on his first marriage to Ina Mae Spivey. Especially since Lee Bowman's character starts out as a cowboy singer and branches out as Autry was doing right about that time.
In any event the story has Susan Hayward as a lounge singer who falls in love with another singer Lee Bowman and marries him and they have a daughter. Bowman's career surges ahead of her's and she's left at home bored and raising the daughter they both love. She turns to drink and with that come all the attending problems. How they're resolved you'll have to see Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman to find out.
The musical score was written mostly by Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson and two songs really stand out. The theme song Life Can Be Beautiful and another terrific ballad I Miss That Feeling. The latter was recorded by Tony Martin for Mercury Records, I've not heard a commercial recording of the former.
Bowman and Hayward were dubbed by vocalists Hal Derwin and Peg LaCentra respectively. The voices perfectly suit the players.
In the supporting cast Marsha Hunt should be singled out as the agent's secretary carrying the Olympic torch for Bowman. Even though he doesn't notice her, she sure gets Hayward's back up and they have one outstanding chick fight in a powder room.
Still the film belongs to Susan Hayward as the girl from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn was taken seriously as an actress for the first time in her career. After Smash-Up no one took Susan Hayward any other way.
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