Movie Critique - Tomorrow Is Another Day

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: A very A film in the B class category of film noir, about love, redemption, murder and mystery with sexy misfits on the run. Although the ending isn't typical of normal film noir, it still left you surprised and refreshing.

Tomorrow Is Another Day is a 1951 American crime film noir starring Steve Cochran, Ruth Roman, Lurene Tuttle and Ray Teal among others. Directed by Felix E. Feist, Produced by Henry Blanke, the plot was based on a story by Guy Endore. He along with Art Cohn gave the screenplay for the film. 

Bill Clark (portrayed by Steve Cochran) goes on run when he is suspected of killing Katherine "Kay" Higgins' (portrayed by Ruth Roman) boyfriend, Detective Lieutenant George Conover (portrayed by Hugh Sanders). Cathy also joins Bill and they find a place in anonymity, starting a new life. But past catches up to them and they find themselves again on the run

I remember Ruth Roman mostly for her role as Loretta Spiegel, the owner of the hair salon in Cabot Cove, in the famous TV show Murder, She Wrote that aired from 1984 through 1996. I have seen a few movies so far that Ruth Roman acted in - 1951 American drama thriller Lightning Strikes Twice; 1951 American psychological thriller Strangers on a Train; 1949 American film noir The Window; and 1952 Mara Maru.

Ruth Roman gets top billing in this B film noir. Many of Roman's roles, even though as a leading lady, were in many B Movies. Not many of her roles were memorable enough to remember. I am proof of the same cause I watched four of her movies so far and only remember her in one film. 

Very few of her films gave her roles that would showcase her acting skills as opposed to putting her on the side just as an eye-candy girl. This is one of those films that definitely showcased her talents. She was in several films and TV shows though giving her a long and successful career. 

In this film Roman plays a flinty Taxi dancer, Kay Higgins, who is hard at heart and selfish but eventually learns to love and be humble. She is also seen as a blonde, the first and only for her. Although only for the first half of the film. She changes back to black hair in the second half. 

Steve Cochran portrays the role of Bill Clark, the male lead of the film. I thought I remember seeing him in another film, but couldn’t figure it out which film it was. However I do remember him from one episode from the TV show The Twilight Zone, Season 1 Episode 12 titled What You Need. He certainly led a life filled with sex, women and drinking while doing his films. He even has a bizarre ending to his own life just like the bizarre ending in this film. 

Cochran has the looks much similar to Elvis Presley who doesn’t release his first recording until two years after this film was released. Even though his character Bill Clark has been in jail for 18 years, and sort of become hard boiled, there is a subtle gentleness and goodness in him. The character is as simple as you think he is and as complex as he can get. A very complicated man indeed!

Lurene Tuttle plays the part of Stella Dawson in the film. In my recent listening of old time radio, I noticed that she was a constant fixture in many shows on radio earning her the title "First Lady of Radio". Some of her famous radio appearances are as Effie Perrine, Sam Spade's secretary in The Adventures of Sam Spade; with several guest appearances on shows such as The Whistler, Suspense, Dragnet and other shows. 

Originally written for John Garfield, the film took a few changes on account of Garfield's death and Cochran taking up the role. Although it had a happy ending, the film was not received well. The film did skate through the Production Code with Cathy's statement of "I'm pregnant", a very controversial statement for that time.

The title really doesn’t give you any vibes of a film noir and makes it look like a drama or a documentary. But beware my friends, it is indeed a film noir, albeit in a very shallow way. Although the second half of the film seems to be a direct copy of the 1949 American film noir Shockproof with Cornel Wilde and Patricia Knight in the lead according to Turner Classic Movies (TCM) film noir expert Eddie Muller. 

Again we see the mastery of director Feist to make the best out of the small budget given to him by Warner Bros. for the film. Cinematographer Robert Burks contributed to the director's vision with his amazing talent to use the light and shadow along with close-up shots that emphasize the plot further more. The scene in the car carrier definitely shows Burks mastery. 

The film comes with some powerful dialogues thanks to the writers Guy Endore and Art Cohn.

Kathy Higgins: I came to New York from up state. I was gonna be a dancer. I was a brunette. Started on my toes and wound up on my heels.
Kathy Higgins: [looks Bill over] The name is Kay... when you get bored
Prison Warden: A lot of things have changed out there. / Bill Clark: A lot of us have changed in here too.

A very A film in the B class category of film noir, about love, redemption, murder and mystery with sexy misfits on the run. Although the ending isn't typical of normal film noir, it still left you surprised and refreshing. A very good watch!

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Movie Trivia:

a. Note the marquee behind Bill as he is getting to the city. You can see the 1941 film Paris Calling. You can barely see the name behind his head on the right side of the screen.

2) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

a. When the car following Bill from the prison pulls out to follow the bus Bill has taken, you can see reflection of spotlight and two crew members in the left rear window.

b. After buying a new suit at Idea Taylors, he carries a small box with the prison suit in it. How did all of that fit in that small box?

c. Kay calls the detective's name as "George" more than once, as well as on radio when the newscaster reads about the investigation. But the newspaper article that Bill reads about the shooting has the Detective's first name as "Harry" instead. 

d. Kay and Bill escape hiding inside a car aboard a car carrier. But wouldn’t the additional weight have been noticed by the driver?


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