Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

SMASH UP: THE STORY OF A WOMAN


SMASH UP: THE STORY OF A WOMAN (1947). Director: Stuart Heisler.

Angie Evans (Susan Hayward) is an aspiring singer who suffers from stage fright (having a drink or two before going on seems to help her) and who gives up her career to marry Ken Conway (Lee Bowman), who makes a tremendous splash as a crooner. Now Angie has no career, her husband is out on the road most of the time, having a child isn't enough to fill her life, and she's afraid Ken is having an affair with his aggressive assistant, Martha (Marsha Hunt). What's a girl to do? She takes a drink and then another, and then has a few more. This not-too-serious study of a dipsomaniac is well-acted -- Hayward is outstanding -- and quite entertaining. There's a particularly amusing scene when Angie has it out with Martha in the ladies room during a party, smacking her around and pulling her hair. The movie has some interesting vignettes, such as when the old nurse who works for Angie is shown a baby by its mother in the park. "Cute, isn't he?" says the mother. To which the nurse, frowning, says, "hmm. well ..." The movie has a very unrealistic ending, with one character being overly forgiving after a near-tragedy. Eight years later Hayward played another alcoholic -- this time a real-life singer, Lillian Roth -- in I'll Cry Tomorrow.

Verdict: Watch Hayward put on a show! ***.

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