Year: 1946

Director: Irving Pichel

Cast: Claudette Colbert, Orson Welles, George Brent, Lucille Watson, Natalie Wood

Much like many of the greatest movies ever made, Tomorrow is Forever is a powerful and emotional film about sacrifice and putting the greater good above your own will.

Claudette Colbert plays a young wife named Elizabeth at the end of World War One. The war is now over and everyone is celebrating. Unfortunately, she receives a telegram informing her that her husband has been killed.

This film deals with the horror of war and how even conflicts far removed can have effects that ripple across the globe. It is also a film that deals with self sacrifice and seeing the bigger picture. To me, such noble and universal themes so masterfully executed are what makes this film so powerful, effective and impressive. This is a film that bores into the soul and touches, enlightens and inspires. It is a tragic story, but one that also generates optimism about the nature of mankind and the ability we have in all of us to step up when the going gets tough.

Orson Welles gives the most memorable performance of the film as Elizabeth’s husband John. Apparently, due to William Randolph Hearst’s objection to Citizen Kane and his desire to ruin Orson Welles, Welles was avoided by Hollywood but Claudette Colbert who was a big star was able to get him cast in Tomorrow is Forever. It is a good thing too. Orson gives another great performance. We see his character transform and mature and Welles portrays this transformation flawlessly.

It is worth pointing out that this was also Natalie Wood’s first credited role. She was just eight years old when the film was released. Even at such a young age she shows considerable talent.

My only real complaint with the film is that there is an essential plot point that comes across as contrived and hard to swallow, but because it was used to further what I thought was a powerful theme, I found it more excusable. Those who have seen the film will know what I am referring too. It has to do with two characters not recognizing each other after the passage of about 21 years. Perhaps with different makeup it would have been easier to swallow but as it is, you have to suspend your disbelief quite a bit to accept that there wouldn’t be complete recognition of one another.

I highly recommend this film.

By Greg Dickson

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