Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951)

A man who spent his formative years in prison for murder is released, and struggles to adjust to the outside world and escape his lurid past. He gets involved with a cheap dancehall girl, and when her protector is accidentally killed, they go on the lam together, getting jobs as farm labourers. But some fellow workers get wise to them.

Critical response

Film critic Dennis Schwartz seemed disappointed with the film, writing “Gloomy minor film noir with a happy ending. The movie was made for John Garfield, but he died in 1951. A satisfactory Steve Cochran takes the part and gives it his best shot. Competently directed by Felix Feist (The Devil Thumbs a Ride/The Threat/Donovan’s Brain), as always, and adequately written by Guy Endore (blacklisted after the movie for his political activism) and Art Cohn. Though watchable, the social conscious film remains forgettable–unable to leave a particularly sympathetic lasting impression of its outsider characters, whose distrust of the authorities leads them to be anti-social types and humorless downers for most of the pic

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half-noir, half-soap

6 February 2004 | by goblinhairedguy (Montreal) – See all my reviews

The first 45 minutes of this Warners programmer is an impressive, surprisingly frank and cynical noir, as an ex-con’s attempts to readjust to a bewildering outside world just lead him into more hot water. Ruth Roman is particularly effective (and affecting) as a sassy, worldly-wise platinum-blonde dance hall girl. Once the two of them take it on the lam and she reverts to her natural hair colour, the movie descends into sentimental clichéd melodrama, with Steve Cochran as the protagonist showing off his pecs at every turn, and Roman cloyingly playing at the nurturing wife with the terrible secret — there are more clinches than in a latter day Muhammad Ali fight. To his credit, director Felix Feist does like to emphasize the key points visually, and the first glimpse of Roman in her tight outfit at the seedy clip joint is striking. But unfortunately, it all amounts to another one of those paint-by-numbers working class Warner Brothers jobs instead of the tour-de-force it starts out to be.

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Surprisingly alert and moving lovers-on-the-lam story

8/10
Author:bmacvfrom Western New York
3 December 2001

Tomorrow Is Another Day is NOT the sequel to Gone with the Wind but a lovers-on-the-lam story, and a surprisingly alert and moving one as well. For a supposed hack relegated to B-minus features like The Devil Thumbs A Ride, Felix Feist proves adept at filling his work with unexpected, inventive details. Steve Cochran leaves prison after 18 years for killing his brutal father when he was only 13, and now he’s still a tentative, gawky pubescent operating inside a man’s hulky frame. Lonesome, he visits a 10-cents-a-dance palace and falls for brassy, grasping Ruth Roman. But the sudden shooting of her police-bigwig boyfriend causes the ill-matched couple to hit the road, ending, like the Joads, in a California migrant-worker camp.

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Roman’s the revelation; in her best-known role, as Farley Granger’s fiancee in Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, she was ill- and under-used. Here she modulates persuasively from bottle-blonde taxi dancer to sacrificing wife and mother-to-be (and a brunette, to boot). Cochran’s almost as good, waffling between the suspicion of a wounded child and the explosive reactions of an under-socialized male. And the ending, while unconvincing, is nonetheless welcome. Along with They Live By Night and Gun Crazy, Tomorrow Is Another Day displays a redeeming sweetness and warmth that belie its film-noir pedigree.

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Look For It

Author:glabella
6 August 1999

Yeah, I know, Scarlett O’Hara’s favorite maxim. If by some weird set of circumstances this thoughtful little gem shows up on your TV after the latest infomercial, tape it, go to bed, and sometime when you’re in the mood for some reflective film watching, shove it in the VCR maw. Steve Cochran plays a really dumb guy who gets entwined with Ruth Roman’s cynical, smart loser dame through a series of preposterous events. If J. D. Salinger had written a crime film, it would have probably turned out like this. Why are films like this so hard to find? Other ’50’s obscurities worth checking out: Eight Iron Men; Kiss Me Deadly; Rogue River; Violent Saturday; Blood And Steel; Paratroop Command; Convicts Four (actually ’62, but a great prison film.) I give up, nobody seems to remember anything about movies since 1980 anyway.

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A Very “A” Class B Movie

8/10
Author:graham clarke (grahamclarke@earthling.net)
29 May 2011

“Tomorrow is Another Day” is a B movie; those often looked down upon stepchildren of the Hollywood system peopled with so called second stringers. When a B movie is as good as “Tomorrow is Another Day”, one realizes just what an amazing factory Hollywood was in its heyday. Helmed by the not too well known director Felix E. Feist it stars Ruth Roman and Steve Cochran in the leads. They were both dependable performers with a fairly strong screen presence, but here they both turn in compelling performances and indeed carry the film wonderfully. These characters have come from tough backgrounds and as the film progresses we sense them softening as their relationship develops. The transition is subtle and well handled. While the story itself may have its pitfalls, the dialogue is crisp and credible with some of those wonderful noir one liners one comes to expect from such fare. What elevates “Tomorrow is Another Day” so far above its peers is the wonderful work of cameraman Robert Burks. No wonder Burks was often chosen by Hitchcock for his masterly work, (“The Birds” and others.) Despite the modest proportions of this B movie, Burk takes great pains with each shot; selecting interesting and effective angles. It’s his work that puts the stamp of class on this movie. While certainly not a classic, the poorly titled “Tomorrow is Another Day” offers a very satisfying movie watching experience.

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Two Conflicting Halves

6/10
Author:dougdoepkefrom Claremont, USA
14 January 2012

An ex-con and a dance hall girl flee the cops and a wrongful murder charge.

Catch that early scene in the tacky dance hall— it’s a gem. I’ve seen a lot of cheap dives in movies, but none I think combines atmosphere and annoyance better than this one. Between the hard dames and the 1-minute buzzer, the guys better hold onto their wallets. Then too, the Warner Bros. production manages uncommon attention to detail. Note how taxi-dancer Cay (Roman) ends the dance hall scene by soliciting another customer. That way we know she’s a real hard case no matter what she’s said to poor Clark (Cochran).

These touches continue throughout, as with the back-and-forth wristwatch mirroring Cay’s and Clark’s relationship, or the heart-stopping dropped keys that unlock the carry-all car. All in all, these are the kind of deft touches that turn a good film into a memorable one.

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However, despite the excellence of this noirish first half, I have to agree with reviewer Teller. The second half unfortunately collapses into unremarkable melodrama. Frankly, Cay’s big turnaround from loose woman to wifely Madonna is simply too complete to be believable. That transformation is signaled in her change of hair color. There, Cay washes out the dance hall blonde for the darker natural color underneath, thereby releasing the real person redeemed now by true love. However, the problem remains– the personality contrast between the “hard-case before” and the “all-sweetness after” is simply too strong and abrupt not to draw critical attention, regardless of how worthwhile the message.

That’s not to say the second part is wasted. Those clapboard shacks for the transient pickers are right out of Grapes of Wrath and just as realistic. Plus, Clark’s personality remains volatile and believable, though undergoing the inevitable softening. I just wish the film had modulated Kay’s change in a similarly subtle manner. Then we might have had a memorable whole instead of a memorable half.

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Soft-boiled noir

6/10
Author:madmonkmcgheefrom Netherlands
7 March 2011

The title sounds like a soap opera, and it kinda is, with some noirish touches. The first 30 minutes are familiar fare to any noir fan: ex-convict has troubles finding his way on the outside, meets a scheming blonde who only thinks of looking after Number One. At her place they run into her beau, who’s none too pleased. Fists fly, and soon enough a shot is fired,hitting the boyfriend. We know it’s the dame that did it, but since the ex-con was knocked out before the gun went off he doesn’t know he’s innocent. She doesn’t clear things up for him, for obvious reasons. Fearing the worst, they hit the road together. From then on the melodrama takes over: she washes the bleach out of her hair, and becomes a reformed woman almost instantly. Love starts to bloom and they throw in their lot together. Will they ever find true happiness? At this point the movie lover who likes his noir hard-boiled might as well switch off. Those who sit out the rest of the movie either learn to care for the star-crossed couple or will feel cheated out of a good chase movie. I’m sort of on the fence about this one; both leads are engaging enough, but the story could have used more grit. Noir fans should try this one out, it has enough going for it, but be warned: Bonny And Clyde it ain’t.

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