Tomorrow Is Forever

Overview

Elizabeth MacDonald Claudette Colbert is a newly married corporate librarian in 1918 Baltimore working for a chemical company owned by the Hamilton family and managed by Larry Hamilton George Brent. Just as she is celebrating the armistice and anticipating the return of her husband John Orson Welles, she learns he was killed in action, just days before the cease fire. Pregnant with their child and alone in the world, she is taken in by Larry Hamilton, who has loved her from afar and is driven by sympathy for her ...
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Overview

Elizabeth MacDonald Claudette Colbert is a newly married corporate librarian in 1918 Baltimore working for a chemical company owned by the Hamilton family and managed by Larry Hamilton George Brent. Just as she is celebrating the armistice and anticipating the return of her husband John Orson Welles, she learns he was killed in action, just days before the cease fire. Pregnant with their child and alone in the world, she is taken in by Larry Hamilton, who has loved her from afar and is driven by sympathy for her plight. She has her baby, a boy named Drew, and she and Larry marry, raising the child as his own and never telling the boy of his real father. Meanwhile, in an Austrian hospital, a horribly wounded and disfigured American officer Welles without any identification insists to the doctor treating him John Wengraf that he be allowed to die. The doctor saves his life, but the shock of his injuries and the strain of his recovery causes him to lose his memory, and he ends up adopting a new identity. Cut to 1939, and the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe. Drew Richard Long is about to graduate from college and wants to join his fraternity brothers, who are planning on going to Canada, signing up with the Royal Canadian Air Force, and heading to England to fly against the Germans. Drew is not yet 21, however, and needs the permission of his parents, but Elizabeth is appalled by the notion of losing Drew to war the same way that she lost John. Into their family comes a visitor, Erich Kessler Welles, a crippled, ailing Austrian refugee and chemical expert hired by Hamilton's company, who arrives in Baltimore with his young daughter Margaret Natalie Wood. Kessler starts to recognize places in the city, including the home where Elizabeth lived, and when they meet, despite her discomfort at having an Austrian army veteran in the house, she does her best to welcome him. Elizabeth also starts to notice little aspects of Kessler that remind her vaguely of John. But much as she is haunted by these strange similarities, she is appalled when Kessler seems to encourage Drew to pursue his goal of fighting the Nazis. Even Kessler's presence in their home, despite his genial and deferential manner, is a vexation to Elizabeth, bringing the horror of the war and what the Nazis represent into their midst and making Drew even more fervent in his desire to join up and fight. When Margaret displays terrible fears and nightmares, it comes out that she isn't really Kessler's child at all, but the daughter of the doctor who saved his life he and his wife had been executed by the Nazis. Larry, meanwhile, must watch from the sidelines, not aware of Kessler's real identity and unable to resolve the conflict between his admiration for Drew's intentions and his love for his wife. When Drew decides to ignore his parents' wishes and go to Canada and enlist without their permission, Kessler follows and stops him despite his own weakened condition, and brings the young man home. A confrontation ensues upon their return, and Kessler explains to her that, whomever she thinks he might have been, the past has passed. Elizabeth finds the strength and courage to face the future, and the coming of the new war and what it may bring.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Tomorrow Is Forever is a strange mixture of "women's picture" and topical World War II drama. Covering two generations in a family's story, it is doubly strange for having come out in 1946. In a sense, the movie was late -- if it had been done in 1942 or 1943, it could have been an American version of Mrs. Miniver, with far more to say about families and responsibility in wartime than something like the much-vaunted Since You Went Away; but it came out too late for that. Instead, it's a very wistful, romantic movie, set in a time that was safely past in 1946, with a poignant, two-handkerchief ending. It was strongly reminiscent of a similar movie by Paramount from the same year called To Each His Own. Luckily, Tomorrow Is Forever never went as far afield in its plot and story machinations as To Each His Own; it also addressed issues that its audience would still have been coming to grips with in 1946. The end of the war raised all manner of questions about whether the sacrifice had been worth it, and Tomorrow Is Forever, despite its romantic veneer and woman's picture accouterments, shouted an emphatic "Yes!" and reminded audiences why that was true. It's also a very good drama, with some strong characterizations across the entire cast, led by Orson Welles, even though he's only onscreen for a little more than half of the movie. The last 30 minutes of the film are an acting tour de force for him, and he gives an excellent performance as both MacDonald and Kessler. George Brent once again gets to play a decent man struggling to do the decent thing; Claudette Colbert, far more than in Since You Went Away, was an excellent screen Everymother; and little Natalie Wood, not yet eight years old, nearly steals the end of the movie with her portrayal of a once again orphaned waif. Director Irving Pichel might not have had the sense of style or creativity that Welles would have brought to a movie (and it is funny to see Welles in so straightforward a drama in this part of his career), but he knew drama and how to make it work. Finally, Max Steiner's score puts the whole movie over the top as one of the finest (and most serious) romantic dramas of its era.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/9/2011
  • UPC: 883904249979
  • Original Release: 1946
  • Source: Mgm Mod
  • Presentation: Full Frame
  • Time: 1:44:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 6,993

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Claudette Colbert Elizabeth (MacDonald) Hamilton
Orson Welles John MacDonald/Erich Kessler
George Brent Larry Hamilton
Lucile Watson Aunt Jessie
Richard Long Drew
Natalie Wood Margaret Hamilton
Joyce MacKenzie Cherry
Sonny Howe Brian
Michael Ward Baby Drew
John Wengraf Dr. Ludwig
Douglas Wood Charles Hamilton
Ian Wolfe Norton
Tom Wirick Pudge
Lane Watson Hamilton's secretary
Henry Hastings Butler
Louis Austin Receptionist
Charles D. Brown Immigration Officer
Marguerite Campbell
Margaret Campbell
Jessie Grayson Servant
Anne Howard
Anne Loos Freckle-Faced Nurse
Thomas Louden Englishman on Ship
Betty Greco
Lane Chandler Technician
Bill Dyer Fraternity Boy
Helen Gerald Girlfriend
Jesse Graves Servant
Boyd Irwin Dr. Callan
Milt Kibbee Postman
Thomas Lockyear Englishman on ship
Buster Phelps Fraternity boy
Irving Pichel Voice Only
Libby Taylor Maid
Evan Thomas Ship Doctor
Technical Credits
Irving Pichel Director
Lenore J. Coffee Screenwriter
David Lewis Producer
Louis Forbes Musical Direction/Supervision
Wiard Ihnen Art Director
Arthur Johns Sound/Sound Designer
Corson Jowett Sound/Sound Designer
Jean Louis Costumes/Costume Designer
Ernest Nims Editor
Gus Norin Makeup
John Sherwood Asst. Director
Max Steiner Score Composer, Songwriter
Charles Tobias Songwriter
Joseph A. Valentine Cinematographer
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