Smash Up--The Story of a Woman (1947)

102-103 or 105 mins | Drama | March 1947

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Smash-Up . A May 1946 HR production chart places Victoria Horne in the cast, but her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Although an Aug 1946 HR production chart credits Mark Hellinger as producer, his contribution to the released film has not been determined. Many reviews compare this picture to the 1945 Paramount film Lost Weekend (see above) because of its topic of alcoholism. According to a NYT news item, the PCA initially tried to dissuade producer Walter Wanger from making this picture because the topic had recently been dealt with in Lost Weekend . Using the argument that the code only prohibited the depiction of unnecessary social drinking and that imbibing to further plot and characterization is permitted, Wanger finally won the PCA's approval. To assure authenticity, Wanger consulted with the National Committee for Education of Alcoholism and incorporated their suggestions about the necessity of continued vigilance into the scenario. A Life magazine article adds that director Stuart Heisler consulted with a Yale University authority on alcoholism. A NYT news item notes that parts of the film were shot on location at Central Park and Sutton Place in New York City. This was screenwriter John Howard Lawson's last assignment before being subpoened by HUAC as one of the Hollywood Ten. (For additional information on HUAC, See Entry for Crossfire .) Susan Hayward was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in this picture. This was the first of many "long-suffering heroine" roles for Hayward. ... More Less

The working title of this film was Smash-Up . A May 1946 HR production chart places Victoria Horne in the cast, but her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Although an Aug 1946 HR production chart credits Mark Hellinger as producer, his contribution to the released film has not been determined. Many reviews compare this picture to the 1945 Paramount film Lost Weekend (see above) because of its topic of alcoholism. According to a NYT news item, the PCA initially tried to dissuade producer Walter Wanger from making this picture because the topic had recently been dealt with in Lost Weekend . Using the argument that the code only prohibited the depiction of unnecessary social drinking and that imbibing to further plot and characterization is permitted, Wanger finally won the PCA's approval. To assure authenticity, Wanger consulted with the National Committee for Education of Alcoholism and incorporated their suggestions about the necessity of continued vigilance into the scenario. A Life magazine article adds that director Stuart Heisler consulted with a Yale University authority on alcoholism. A NYT news item notes that parts of the film were shot on location at Central Park and Sutton Place in New York City. This was screenwriter John Howard Lawson's last assignment before being subpoened by HUAC as one of the Hollywood Ten. (For additional information on HUAC, See Entry for Crossfire .) Susan Hayward was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in this picture. This was the first of many "long-suffering heroine" roles for Hayward. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Nov 46
p. 414.
Box Office
15 Feb 1947.
---
Daily Variety
5 Feb 1947.
---
Film Daily
6 Feb 47
p. 7.
Hollywood Citizen-News
13 Mar 1947.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 46
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
31 May 46
p. 7, 8
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 46
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Oct 46
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 47
p. 3.
Independent Film Journal
8 Jun 46
p. 35.
Life
14 Apr 47
pp. 79-80.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Feb 47
p. 3475.
New York Times
19 May 1946.
---
New York Times
23 Jun 1946.
---
New York Times
11 Apr 47
p. 31.
Variety
5 Feb 47
p. 12.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Eddie Randolph
Cay Forrester
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Addl dial
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Spec photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
SOUND
Dir of sd
Tech
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Dir of makeup
STAND INS
Voice double for Susan Hayward
SOURCES
SONGS
"Hushabye Island," "I Miss That Feeling" and "Life Can Be Beautiful," music by Jimmy McHugh, lyrics by Harold Adamson
"A Cowboy's Never Lonesome," music and lyrics by Jack Brooks
"Lonely Little Ranch House," music by Edgar Fairchild, lyrics by Jack Brooks.
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1947
Production Date:
late May--mid August 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
18 February 1947
Copyright Number:
LP880
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
102-103 or 105
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At White Memorial Hospital, a delirious woman, her face swathed in bandages, thrashes in her bed and recalls snatches of her past: The woman is nightclub singer Angie Evans. Although successful, Angie possesses little self-confidence and drinks to overcome her stage fright. Madly in love with Ken Conway, a struggling young composer and singer, Angie forsakes her own career to marry Ken and raise a family. With the help of Mike Dawson, Angie's agent and friend, Ken and his accompanist, Steve Anderson, get a job performing cowboy tunes on an early morning radio show. Angie encourages Ken to perform his own romantic ballads instead, and on the day that Angie gives birth to their daughter Angelica, Ken, emboldened, croons one of his own compositions over the air. The ballad wins Ken acclaim, and soon he is promoted to his own show in an evening time slot. As Ken's popularity soars, Angie cloisters herself at home with the baby. Angie's confidence is further eroded by her husband's new prominence. When Ken buys an exclusive apartment equipped with servants' quarters, and expects Angie to host glamorous social gatherings, she becomes even more insecure and again turns to drink. Ken's secretary, Martha Gray, gladly supplants Angie as Ken's hostess, causing Angie to seek further solace in a bottle. Ken's busy life leaves no time for a dependent wife, and when he invites Martha to join him and Angie and on a concert tour to Chicago, Angie, insecure, gets drunk and Ken leaves without her. While Ken is away, the baby falls critically ill with pneumonia, and Angie forswears drink and spends sleepless nights ... +


At White Memorial Hospital, a delirious woman, her face swathed in bandages, thrashes in her bed and recalls snatches of her past: The woman is nightclub singer Angie Evans. Although successful, Angie possesses little self-confidence and drinks to overcome her stage fright. Madly in love with Ken Conway, a struggling young composer and singer, Angie forsakes her own career to marry Ken and raise a family. With the help of Mike Dawson, Angie's agent and friend, Ken and his accompanist, Steve Anderson, get a job performing cowboy tunes on an early morning radio show. Angie encourages Ken to perform his own romantic ballads instead, and on the day that Angie gives birth to their daughter Angelica, Ken, emboldened, croons one of his own compositions over the air. The ballad wins Ken acclaim, and soon he is promoted to his own show in an evening time slot. As Ken's popularity soars, Angie cloisters herself at home with the baby. Angie's confidence is further eroded by her husband's new prominence. When Ken buys an exclusive apartment equipped with servants' quarters, and expects Angie to host glamorous social gatherings, she becomes even more insecure and again turns to drink. Ken's secretary, Martha Gray, gladly supplants Angie as Ken's hostess, causing Angie to seek further solace in a bottle. Ken's busy life leaves no time for a dependent wife, and when he invites Martha to join him and Angie and on a concert tour to Chicago, Angie, insecure, gets drunk and Ken leaves without her. While Ken is away, the baby falls critically ill with pneumonia, and Angie forswears drink and spends sleepless nights caring for the child until the crisis is over. Afterward, when Angie calls Ken at his hotel room, and Martha answers the phone, Angie's self-esteem is totally shattered and she again turns to drink. Ken hurries home to be home with his sick daughter, but when he finds Angie drunk, he becomes disgusted and returns to Chicago. Years pass and Angie, now a chronic alcoholic, sinks into the depths of despair. Urged by Steve to be more understanding of Angie, Ken decides to give a party in his wife's honor. At the party, Martha deliberately arouses Angie's jealousy, causing Angie to assault her in a drunken rage. Although Angie expresses remorse for her behavior, Ken, disgusted, files for divorce and seeks custody of their daughter. Rejecting Ken's offer of the apartment and a generous alimony settlement, Angie moves into a hotel, and with Mike's help, tries to rekindle her singing career. Remaining loyal to Angie, Steve confronts Martha when she begins to date Ken, causing her to break into tears and admit that she harbors an unrequited love for Ken. Refused visitation rights with her daughter, Angie continues to drink and one night passes out in the street. Upon awakening, Angie drives to see Angelica and kidnaps the girl from her nurse, Miss Kirk. After putting Angelica to bed, Angie drunkenly drops a lit cigarette on the floor, then leaves the room. Awakened by Angelica's screams, Angie dashes into the flames of the now burning house to rescue her daughter. Although Angelica is uninjured, Angie is badly burned. At the White Memorial Hospital, as Angie regains consciousness she cries for her child. Ken is at her bedside, and after Dr. Lorenz finally makes him comprehend Angie's desperation, Ken reconciles with his wife who then recovers with renewed self-reliance and strength. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.