I'll Cry Tomorrow

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

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.[2] It was entered into the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.[3]


Eight-year-old Lillian Roth (Carole Ann Campbell) constantly is pushed by her domineering stage mother Katie (Jo Van Fleet) to audition and act, even though she is merely a child. One day, Katie 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 still is managing Lillian, as well as running her life and career choices.

Although 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 one 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, and 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 at 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 aviator, Wallie (Don Taylor), and marries him that night but does not remember 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 invited to appear on the This Is Your Life television program to share her story of alcoholism and recovery.


Susan Hayward and Eddie Albert

Box officeEdit

According to MGM records, the film made $5,873,000 in the U.S. and Canada and $1,854,000 in other markets, 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."[4]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Award Category Nominee(s) Result
Academy Awards[5] Best Actress Susan Hayward Nominated
Best Art Direction – Black-and-White Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons and Malcolm Brown
Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis and Hugh Hunt
Best Cinematography – Black-and-White Arthur Arling Nominated
Best Costume Design – Black-and-White Helen Rose Won
British Academy Film Awards[6] Best Foreign Actress Susan Hayward Nominated
Cannes Film Festival[7] Palme d'Or Daniel Mann Nominated
Best Actress Susan Hayward Won
Golden Globe Awards[8] Most Promising Newcomer – Male Ray Danton Won
Laurel Awards Top Female Dramatic Performance Susan Hayward Won
Top Female Character Performance Jo Van Fleet Won

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ "NY Times: I'll Cry Tomorrow". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-12-01. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: I'll Cry Tomorrow". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
  4. ^ Picture Show, June 23, 1956
  5. ^ "The 28th Academy Awards (1956) Nominees and Winners". Oscars.org (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  6. ^ "BAFTA Awards: Film in 1957". BAFTA. 1957. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Awards 1956: All Awards". festival-cannes.fr. Archived from the original on 25 December 2013.
  8. ^ "I'll Cry Tomorrow – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved June 3, 2021.

External linksEdit