Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955)

In director Daniel Mann's dramatic biopic about a Broadway star:

  • the character of showbiz singer/actress Lillian Roth (Oscar-nominated Susan Hayward) - singing on stage as a glamorous screen star of the jazzy number: "Sing, You Sinners" - during the filming of the pre-Code Hollywood musical comedy Honey (1930), while her domineering stage mother Katie (Jo Van Fleet) watched from off-stage
  • Lillian's descent into drunkenness and alcohol abuse, and telling manipulative, fellow alcoholic third husband Tony Bardeman (Richard Conte) in a Los Angeles bar, before having a very public incident in the parking lot with him: ("I'm what you call an adorable drunk...I'm no good. That's the way it's gotta be. I'm just nothin'. A hopeless drunk gettin' just what I deserve")
  • her vicious argument with her mother Katie in their tiny NYC apartment, blaming her for deliberately breaking an alcohol bottle: ("OH! Look what ya did! And ya DID IT ON PURPOSE! You're still trying to make me do what you want, to be what you want! I can't be anything except what I am! Look, look what did you drop that bottle for? What are you trying to do, drive me crazy? Go on, GET THE BOTTLE! GET IT NOW!"); her mother admitted pushing her into being the famed actress Lillian Roth and projecting her own ambitions onto her, in order to survive: ("All right! All right! All right, it's my fault, huh? I made you become an actress, you didn't want to, all right. I've been a bad mother. You had to support me, all right! All right! ALL RIGHT, EVERYTHING! Just this, and for once in your life you're gonna hear it! Do you know at all why I did it, do you? No, you don't! Do you know what kind of a life I had? Do you know what it was like to live with your father, put up with his mistakes and afterwards to be left alone with nothin'? No money, no career, not young anymore, nothin' to fall back on? No, you don't! You don't know at all what I tried to save you from, the kind of freedom I never had! I tried to give to you by making you LILLIAN ROTH!"); Lillian barked back that her mother's efforts weren't entirely successful: ("So you admit it! You invented Lillian Roth! All right, now look at me. I said look at me, don't turn your face away! I'm the looking glass you created to see yourself in! All right, all right see yourself now in me! Look at this ugly picture! And then GET OUTTA HERE! But keep this picture before your face for as LONG AS YOU LIVE!")
  • Lillian's attempt at suicide by jumping from the upper floor of a NYC hotel skyscraper window: ("Oh, dear God, help me, help me") but when she was unable to do it, she slumped and fell to the floor
  • her remarkable comeback and battle against alcohol, after attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings with the support of her polio-crippled friend-sponsor Burt McGuire (Eddie Albert) (whom she eventually married), and two others: Selma (Margo) and Jerry (Don "Red" Barry). She suffered through painful withdrawal and delirium tremens
Appearance on "This Is Your Life" TV Program
  • the film's conclusion, her courageous appearance on the This Is Your Life TV program hosted by Ralph Edwards (as Himself), who introduced Lillian's life as ("a story of degradation and shame, but when you hear the facts, you'll realize how much courage it took for her to come here tonight. You'll also realize that it's a story full of hope, hope for many who are living and suffering in a half-world of addiction to alcohol. Hope for all people, whoever and wherever they are, so THIS IS YOUR LIFE, LILLIAN ROTH!"); she had attended to give hope to others who suffered the same pain due to alcoholism; before walking down the aisle of the TV audience to speak to the host, she shared her thoughts to Burt (with tears welling up in her eyes): ("I only know that you get by giving, and this is all I've got to give")

Lillian Roth (Susan Hayward)

Lillian's Drunkenness and Alcohol Abuse

With Third Husband Tony (Richard Conte)

Argument With Her Mother

Aborted Suicide Attempt

At Alcoholics Anonymous


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