|Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck|
THERE'S ALWAYS TOMORROW (1956). Director: Douglas Sirk. Produced by Ross Hunter.
Clifford Groves (Fred MacMurray) is a toymaker with a wife (Joan Bennett) and children, but he also has a nagging sense of a lack of fulfillment. He runs into an old employee, Norma (Barbara Stanwyck) and the old feelings they used to have for one another begin to rekindle. Clifford's son Vinnie (William Reynolds) is convinced his dad is up to no good, while his girlfriend, Ann (Pat Crowley) reminds him that men and women can be friends and have innocent encounters. But are Clifford's feelings for Norma quite so innocent ... ? There have been lots of movies about [supposedly] "neglected" wives, but few about neglected husbands. Clifford seems a little unfair and unrealistic in getting jealous of his wife's understandable and necessary attention to the children. Still, MacMurray etches a poignant portrait of a man suffering a mid-life crisis and crying out for passion and romance. In the meantime, Norma gives a rather simplistic speech to the concerned children. The three leads all give fine performances, and Reynolds, Crowley and Gigi Perreau as the young daughter are all notable as well. The ending is not exactly a happy one although audiences were probably expected to be pleased with the resolution.
Verdict: Not exactly Brief Encounter, but not without merit. ***.