Friday, October 9, 2009

Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947)

The fictional story of Angie Evans, a nightclub singer who interrupts her career to marry struggling songwriter Ken Conway. As he discovers success, she turns into an alcoholic, gradually destroying her life.

Nominated for 2 Oscars:

Best Actress: Susan Hayward
Best Writing, Original Story

Oh what a title, right? :) Screams cheesy soap-opera ever since the beginning! And that's half true. I didn't plan to see this movie so soon, but I somehow found free time at work during mornings and watched it on youtube for 2 days. And might I say: it was more enjoyable that expected. With such a title and subject, I expected the worst. The story is nothing new, but it doesn't suck either.

Susan's performance is clearly the highlight of the film! She's natural, sings great and plays one of the most believable drunks I've seen on screen, adding much more to the character than was supposed to. The film itself managed to surprise me once or twice, when I expected super cliches to step in (the baby dying, the evil other woman), but the film turned them around and it didn't go that far. However I would've preferred a more dramatic final scene.

My rating for the film: 6/10. Very 40s melodrama, but with a nice pace and Susan's performance really lifts it up!


  1. Never saw this although I used to confuse it with Woman Under the Influence. Which is about a 7 for me. Do you like that?

    PS. Kindly take the classic survey on my blog. Would love to here your response.

  2. I actually never got to see that. I do imagine it to be a difficult sit through. I'm never that eager I guess to see nominees for Best Actress, because I'm saving the mystery for when/if I'll get to talk about them.

    Thank you for the invitation and I did notice it, but it's not a survey that would fit me I guess. And I'm never elaborate on such matters. I'm mostly into choose A B or C :D

  3. Susan Hayward's singing voice was dubbed by Peg La Centra.

  4. Alex, no problem. It's ironic that Hayward was Oscar nominated for playing singers Lillian Roth ("I'll Cry Tomorrow")and Jane Roman ("With A Song in My Heart"). She also replaced Judy Garland as Helen Lawson in "Valley of the Dolls." While Hayward wasn't a singer, she was a great mimic and lip-synced her numbbers extremely well.
    One other note - the BA Oscars match-up in 1947 of Hayward and Russell will be repeated in 1958 with Hayward winning for "I Want to Live" and Russell nominated for "Auntie Mame." To my thinking, Russell as Auntie Mame is one of those definitive performances, and it is a shame she was never recognized with a competitive Oscar. I'll be curious to see who you choose for the 1947 win -- but agree with you that Loretta Young as "The Farmer's Daughter" is not the best; on my scorecard, Russell would have been a 2 time winner: 1947 and 1958.

  5. Correction: Jane Froman, not Jane Roman. Sorry for the error.

  6. But Hayward wasn't dubbed in I'll cry tomorow, wasn't she ?

    I agree a thousand times with you about Russell in 1958. "A definitive performance"
    People says Hayward wins the winner because she was snubbed in 55 for I'll cry tomorow (a terrific performance half Diva/half great dramatic actress).
    Anyway poor Rosalind, not even nominated for Women and His Girl Fridy. Do you know she refuses Columbia campagne her for Picnic as a supporting ?

    An I agree too abouth all Alex says about Smash-Up and Hayward in this.

    We are waiting for Joan and Dorothy now :-)

  7. Francesco, thanks for the information about Hayward singing in "I'll Cry Tomorrow." She did provide her own singing voice, though a double had been hired and her vocals appear as well on the soundtrack.

  8. well, Francesco, actually you do know I'll detail them on the other blog. Here I just write some impressions to keep track on the films I see.

    yes, Rosalind deserved more recognision.Yeah, I know that about Picnic. But a nomination wouldn't have guaranteed a win.

    I haven't seen I'll Cry Tomorrow, nor The Rose Tattoo, but judging by the critics and the general opinion out there, Magnani had it in the bag