This week in The Best of Film Noir we’re looking at a flick that many probably haven’t heard of. Tomorrow Is Another Day is a film noir that starts out in true noir style, but then heads in the direction of sentimentality. Does it work? I’ll leave that up to you. Tomorrow Is Another Day is about an ex-convict who thinks he killed a man, then shacks up with a taxi dancer whose boyfriend was the murder victim. Complicated? Yes. Fun in a film noir way? You bet!
The Best of Film Noir – The Noir Hero
Steve Cochran (who?) plays ex-convict Bill Lewis, a man who has spent much of his growing up in prison. Upon release, Lewis has a difficult time adjusting to life on the outside. Lewis hooks up with taxi dancer Catherine ‘Cay’ Higgins , and as fate would have it (remember, the hands of fate typically plays a vital role in film noir), Lewis ends up thinking he has committed murder by shooting Cay’s boyfriend. Lewis realizes he’ll end up back in prison, so he decides to run away with Cay. As we know, things never work out for the noir hero. Events eventually transpire that lead to Lewis’ inevitable fall.
Never quite making leading-man status, Cochran became known for playing a great villain, and in Tomorrow Is Another Day Cochran does an admirable job. He successfully portrays a man who at heart is still a kid, a boy who’s never experienced the world. He’s prison-tough, and yet so vulnerable. Quite the noir hero.
The Best of Film Noir – The Femme Fatale
Catherine ‘Cay’ Higgins, played by Ruth Roman, has come to New York to pursue a ballet career. Instead she’s become a taxi dancer (many believe that this is a veiled way of saying that she was a prostitute), and she has a dirty cop boyfriend (her pimp) George Conover (Hugh Sanders). Conover discovers Cay with Lewis. A fight ensues and Conover is killed by Cay. Acting as a true femme fatale, Cay leads Lewis to believe he did it (I won’t tell you how, watch the movie :)). Always lacking in morals, Cay figures Lewis will fare better with the law. But since Lewis has a criminal past, this won’t work, so the couple decides to run.
Ruth Roman is great as Cay, sultry and sexy. Best known for playing in another film noir, Strangers On A Train, Roman, like Cochran, never achieved leading lady status. Most of her leading roles were in westerns, but she had a knack for playing against type, as she does in Tomorrow Is Another Day.
The Best of Film Noir – The Ending
Tomorrow Is Another Day is criticized because it seems to turn into a romance of sorts (some coin it redemption noir). Cay and Lewis marry, even though they don’t love each other, and they head to California. Their past is eventually discovered and Cay ends up saving Lewis. This is not the typical dark film noir ending, and so some say it can’t be noir.
Very little is written about Tomorrow Is Another Day, but if you’d like a more in-depth look at the film and what the ending might mean (other than a romp into romance and sentimentality), read this post. I could rehash it, but Steve Eifert does a great job.
The Best of Film Noir – Trivia
In one scene, Lewis asks Cay if she is going somewhere with the wounded detective. Cay says I’m staying as far away from George Conover as I can. Yet in the following scene, Lewis sees a newspaper story about the shooting, which reports detective Conover’s first name as Harry.
Early in the film, the warden hands Bill Lewis a dime for streetcar fare, noting the price has gone up from a nickel during the time he was in prison. However, Lewis takes a municipal bus instead.
Ruth Roman was a passenger on the ill-fated Andrea Doria, which sank when it collided with the Stockholm.
Many consider Tomorrow Is Another Day to be director Felix Feist’s masterpiece. As one reviewer on imdb says: imagine Gun Crazy (another great film noir) scripted by Steinbeck – it’s that good. So grab your popcorn and drinks and settle in for a long-forgotten film noir treat.
If you like mysteries and film noir, check out The Maltese Felon, Reed Ferguson’s latest adventure.
5 Star Review
THE MALTESE FELON provides clever plotting, a definite sense of urgency and, for your reading pleasure, a deliciously twisted ending. That alone gets five stars from me.
Reed Ferguson is the newest cool detective on the bookshelves. Reed is the best kind of detective; he’s one of us. He hasn’t got massive muscles and wields a gun with ease. He takes a licking, but keeps on ticking. He uses good old fashion brains to solve cases. This is a great series that I am sure will garner many fans and hopefully we’ll be reading for years to come.