Susan Hayward Double Feature: Smash-Up/Tulsa
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Tulsa is a solid Eagle-Lion film that places Hayward in Oklahoma during the oil boom of the 20's. Her father is a rancher who is killed while feuding with a local oil drilling company that happens to have a border on his property (he is killed in an accident while trying to tell the drillers to stop polluting his cattle's water supply). When faced with losing the land that her father valued so much Hayward decides if you can't beat 'em, join 'em (and then beat them at their own game). Her transformation from anti-oil drilling advocate to oil baron is actually scripted fairly well, and her performance is believable. The movie is pure Hollywood, but good Hollywood. There are no major surprises, but the movie is written, acted, and directed with such class that the standard Hollywood plot devices come off fairly well. The supporting cast is also quite good, featuring Robert Preston, Pedro Armendariz, and Ed Begley. Tulsa isn't a great movie, but it ends up being a good one that is very entertaining.
Smash-Up is a marginally better movie, and Hayward was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as a singer who gives up her career to be a wife and mother. She is married to another singer whose career takes off just after she has given up her own. She has a hard time dealing with his success, and developes a jealousy towards his female personal assistant. While trying to cope with all of that she falls into alcoholism, and spirals downward until hitting rock bottom.Read more ›
SMASH-UP is arguably the better of the two movies because of its good-sized and precise cast, and because the topic it deals with, alcoholism, receives fairly sensitive treatment. Miss Heyward plays a former lounge singer bolted into the stratosphere socially and money-wise when her struggling composer husband finally hits pay dirt. But with the riches come inceased insecurity on Heyward's part, as her character descends from the "couple of drinks" drinker to real alcoholism and at one point loses custody of her baby.
This film makes an interesting compare/contrast with the prior year's "prestige film" success, LOST WEEKEND (1945). Of the two, LW treats its subject more graphically, and a bit more psychologically ("writer's block," we are told, but many critics have argued for homosexual guilt instead). Heyward's SMASH-UP deals with its subject under both old and new paradigms: the montage sequence of her dragging from one lounge to another in midtown Manhattan is well-done but the kind of already-cliched treatment so wittily sent up on TV's THE SIMPSONS. More convincing, or at least more in tune with our modern outlook, is the recognition that alcoholism is a disease, not a character defect as such.
Above all we have Heyward's trimphant and intense character making this well-cast and well-formed film her very own. Several years later TULSA gave her a real star vehicle: a rags to riches to rags saga of an Oklahoma cattle queen turned oil queen and at one point as environmentally unfriendly as the oil men she used to despise.Read more ›
Beautiful and talented Angelica Evans (Susan Hayward) seems to have the world on a string, with a successful singing career and the man she loves, Ken Evans (Lee Bowman) poised for success of his own. Unfortunately Angelica lacks confidence, needing some heavy liquid courage before she goes on stage, and when she retires from it to become a full-time mommy and rich woman after Ken becomes a success along with his piano player/songwriting partner Steve (Eddie Albert), she also becomes a full-time alcoholic. As her circumstances and Ken's become easier and more lavish, she feels more and more hopeless and useless - and beging to suspect that Ken's beautiful and very smooth secretary Martha (Marsha Hunt) may be more than just an employee.
Hayward is great in the role that made her a star at age 30 and got her the first of five Oscar nominations. It's known that she was at times a hard drinker herself; whether this made her performance (one of several alcoholics she played, usually to Academy acclaim) any more real or not I wouldn't know, but she convincingly portrays the various stages in the decline of someone into absolute desperation, with the attendant lie-telling and self-loathing. She's riveting, and so are both Albert - as the long-suffering friend of both Angie and Ken, always trying to help them both keep it together - and Hunt as the scorned career-woman, ignored by most and hated by Angie in her boozy paranoia but in the end entirely sympathetic and even verging on tragic.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
DVD picture quality is good given the age of the films. These are not great movies, but do their part to preserve her career. Read morePublished 7 months ago by richard guggenheimer
Both of these movies are excellent. Recommend both for Susan Hayward fans.Published 13 months ago by Rosalie Anello
Favorite old movie, product arrived in time and as a CD it has not failed to function.Published 19 months ago by Jerry
I would purchase this dvd again. I was so impressed with the quality that I will look for this source again when I search for future films on dvd.Published 22 months ago by Jess Castillo
The movie, "Tulsa" was not worth seeing; however, Susan Hayward was the only good thing the movie presented. Read morePublished on October 15, 2009 by Joan H. Laurino