Tomorrow is Forever (1946), Melodrama At Its Finest - Page 2
Elizabeth never got over John’s death, and when she and Kessler meet, he does not expose his true identity. She has had twenty happy years with Lawrence, yet she still loves John—will Kessler reveal himself to her and pick up where they left off 21 years ago? That is the heart of Tomorrow is Forever—a gray area between should and will, between memory of the past and the reality of now. We know that Kessler loves Elizabeth, and he knows that to be with him, she would have to sacrifice the life she has lived for the past twenty years, the husband who adores her, and her family to, essentially, be his nurse.
This can only go one way—somebody’s got to die. Will Lawrence die, leaving Elizabeth free to reunite with John? Will John/Kessler die, no longer a threat to the Hamilton family? Or will Elizabeth contract some Camille-like illness and die, leaving the two men to mourn her? Director Irving Pichel and writers Gwen Bristow and Lenore J. Coffee milk this triangle for all it’s worth, and the result is an emotional story that can’t end happily-ever-after for everyone.
Colbert, Welles, and Brent act their hearts out without ever going overboard (oh, okay there is that one little scene in the beginning when Elizabeth receives John’s personal effects), but it’s Natalie Wood's performance that steals the show, and Max Steiner’s score, incorporating strains of “Till We Meet Again,” is magnificent.
Interweaving patriotism, anti-war sentiment, the horrors of war, and the desire to return to a carefree past, Tomorrow is Forever gives the viewer more than expected; yes, it plays to our emotions, but it also gives us much to consider.