This pulls no punches in showing a rising star’s fall into alcoholic degradation that plumbs Skid Row sewers before Alcoholics Anonymous provides the faith and guidance to help her up again. [The biopic is based on Lillian Roth’s own book.]
No particular person or circumstance is blamed for Roth’s downfall, but the viewers will be able to fasten on any one of several possible causes. The first is the stingingly cruel portrayal of the stage mother, played with great trouping skill by Jo Van Fleet, as she pushes her daughter towards the career she never had. The death of Roth’s first love, effectively realized by Ray Danton, is a blow of fate and the start of the crackup.
Susan Hayward, along with the sock of her sustained character creation, reveals pleasant pipes and song-belting ability.
1955: Best B&W Costume Design.
Nominations: Best Actress (Susan Hayward), B&W Cinematography, B&W Art Direction