Cinema Jolly > 10:15


John M. Stahl


Wednesday 27/06/2018


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Thematically, we can see this as the final film in an unofficial 1930s trilogy directed by John M. Stahl for Universal. Back Street (1932) and Only Yesterday (1933) traced a devoted woman’s bitter-sweet love affair with a married man over many frustrating years. When Tomorrow Comes concentrates a similar story into a three-day span: Charles Boyer’s pianist is less selfish than the bankers played by John Boles in the earlier films, but his sudden passionate romance with Irene Dunne’s waitress is blocked by the fact of his marriage to an unstable woman whom he cannot abandon. Dunne’s roles for Stahl in effect constitute a second trilogy: she was the mistress in Back Street, and then the long-suffering heroine of Magnificent Obsession (1935), widowed, blinded in a car accident, but slowly finding a new happiness. Her role in this third film confirms both her status as one of Hollywood’s great actresses, and Stahl’s intense empathy with women and their aspirations. And in retrospect we can identify a third trilogy: this is the third of Stahl’s films that would be remade in the 1950s, also for Universal, by Douglas Sirk. In contrast to the debates over the Stahl and Sirk versions of Magnificent Obsession and Imitation of Life, no-one surely could dispute the superiority of When Tomorrow Comes over Sirk’s loose 1957 remake, Interlude. The romantic narrative of Stahl’s film is rooted in its historical moment: the spectacular storm and flood scenes are based on 1938 events in New York, while Boyer’s sad departure for Europe at the end gains extra poignancy from the date of the film’s release in August 1939.

Charles Barr

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal racconto A Modern Cinderella di James M. Cain. Scen.: Dwight Taylor. F.: John J. Mescall. M.: Milton Carruth. Scgf.: Jack Otterson. Mus.: Frank Skinner (non accreditato). Int.: Irene Dunne (Helen Lawrence), Charles Boyer (Philip Chagal), Barbara O’Neil (Madeleine Chagal), Onslow Stevens (Jim Holden), Nydia Westman (Lulu), Nella Walker (Betty Dumont), Fritz Feld (Nicholas). Prod.: Universal Pictures. 35mm. D.: 90’. Bn.