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When Tomorrow Comes (1939)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 11 August 1939 (USA)
A concert pianist unhappily married to a mentally ill woman falls in love with a waitress.

Director:

John M. Stahl

Writers:

James M. Cain (story "A Modern Cinderella"), Dwight Taylor (screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Irene Dunne ... Helen Lawrence
Charles Boyer ... Philippe Andre Chagal
Barbara O'Neil ... Madeleine Chagal
Onslow Stevens ... Jim Holden
Nydia Westman ... Lulu
Nella Walker ... Betty Dumont
Fritz Feld ... Nicholas
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Storyline

Romance and heartbreak walk hand-in-hand when Philip Chagal accidentally meets Helen Lawrence in a restaurant where she is a waitress. Unhappily married to a woman who suffers from mental illness, he is attracted to her and they make a date to go sailing, arriving at Philip's country home just as a storm is breaking. Helen learns who he is for the first time, a celebrated-and-famous concert pianist and, falling in love with him, decides to leave before matters go further. A hurricane hits and their car is crippled by a falling tree. Rising water forces then to seek shelter in the choir loft of a church, where they spend the night. They are rescued in the morning and Helen meets Philip's wife, and learns their story. Helen and Philip meet once more, and Philip sails to Europe with his wife but promises to come back some day. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 August 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Modern Cinderella See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The hurricane scenes were inspired by the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, which struck Long Island the year before this movie was made. See more »

Connections

Remade as Interlude (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Solidarity Forever
Labor song
Sung by the waitresses at the labor meeting
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dunne and Boyer Star in "Small" Film
16 February 2017 | by lbbrooksSee all my reviews

While not as big and splashy as their pairing in "Love Affair" released the same year, Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer star in what is rather a "small" film. "When Tomorrow Comes" is a tale of unrequited love between two people who because of the man being bound to a mentally ill wife can never be together. Irene Dunne convincingly plays an underemployed ordinary working gal, one who aspires to be a singer but who is stuck toiling the days away as a waitress. Her character bonds with Boyer's character by disobeying her restaurant's "no substitutions" rule and fulfilling his request for French apple pie. This scene is endearing as she dares to simply place a piece of cheese on top of a slice of hot apple pie and cover the pie until the cheese melts--LOL, "it ain't nothing' but a thing" as Dunne goes the extra step to please the customer. From then on the two are friends and go off together to explore Manhattan and go sailing together. Their would be love affair is derailed by nothing less than a hurricane and the reappearance of Boyer's wife, played here by Barbara O'Neill. O'Neill steals the show as she portrays a woman who is mentally unbalanced, but not for the reason everyone suspects. While her illness is attributed to the death of her infant son, we soon discover that she is using this as an excuse to keep Boyer bound to her. In the scene where Dunne confronts her and pleads for her to release Boyer, we are chilled by O'Neill's psychopathic threat to do harm to Boyer should he leave her for Dunne. O'Neill is scary as hell and Dunne understands as the audience does that she is promising to do Boyer harm not merely threatening to. Because of this, Dunne knows that Boyer can never be hers and for this reason she must bid him farewell forever. The final scene where they part ways as she exits from the restaurant where they are having their last supper together is a tearjerker. No matter how many times she plays the poignant heroine who is called on to do the right thing, Dunne nails it. Her pain is our pain. Boyer's pain in losing her is also our own. Their love is lost and the pain is unbearable.


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