Written by John Delia
It’s a 1946 black and white movie, but the entertainment value still holds true. The classic film Tomorrow Is Forever, a love story on many levels, survives the test of time with performances by some of the top film stars ever. If you enjoy films made by the hands of filmmakers for the love of an audience’s embrace, then try Tomorrow Is Forever, now on DVD.
Back in the day they made movies with a simple moving script and let their actors tell the story. No special effects or computer graphics to create realistic events, just beautiful sets, sweeping vistas, emotional music, and fine acting. If you couldn’t act back then, you were put into the B movies, films like The Dead End Kids and The Bowery Boys. But the classics learned to survive on purity and performance.
In Tomorrow Is Forever we find John (Orson Welles) and his pregnant wife Elizabeth (Claudette Colbert), a lovely young couple saying their farewells as John goes off to WWI. Only several months go by, and as luck would have it a declaration of peace is signed and Elizabeth is overjoyed to know that her husband will be returning. But instead of a telegram of good news, she’s informed that her husband has been killed in battle. Disfigured and with no identity, John has survived the war but chooses to stay in Europe anonymously to spare his wife further disappointment. Flash forward 20 years to pre-WWII and Elizabeth has remarried to Lawrence Hamilton (George Brent) and the family has grown with three children. When John shows up in America unexpectedly, due to the oppression and the onslaught of the new war in Europe, things for Elizabeth get confusing.
As stated in the beginning of this review, watch the film for its acting and the stars come out for this tearjerker. Claudette Colbert (It Happened One Night), the darling of the 30’s and 40’s, plays Elizabeth and radiates the screen with her presence. I could hardly take my eye off of her performance. Colbert’s gestures and facial expressions show emotion and replace unneeded dialogue. Her graceful movements enhance the beauty of the scene, and her eyes become the windows of her heart.
Couple her performance with the great Orson Welles as John (Appeared or voice in 117 titles including Citizen Kane) and George Brent as Lawrence (Appeared in 103 titles including the classic Dark Victory) and you have a recipe for a winning production.
As a wonderful treat the film contains a performance by eight-year-old Natalie Wood (3 time Oscar nominated actress and had 65 titles including the pivotal character Maria in West Side Story). The 1946 Tomorrow Is Forever is her first credited film as an actress. Cute and a charmer, Wood adds some lightheartedness to the film and fond memories of a great actress who tragically died way before her time.
Now all that said, most filmgoers today would be totally bored with a black and white film that looked like it is played out on a stage. And that is the sadness of it all. But for you who remember the days or those students of acting or directing, this film is more than entertainment, it’s a proven lesson that could save your audition or filmmaker.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Pour yourself a glass of wine, cuddle up to a pillow, and slide this DVD into your player.
Cast: Claudette Colbert, Orson Welles, George Brent, Lucile Watson, Richard Long, and Natalie Wood
Directed by: Irving Pichel
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, B/W
Running Time: 1hr 45min