Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman

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Original title Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1947
length 103 minutes
Director Stuart Heisler
script John Howard Lawson ,
Lionel Wiggam ,
Dorothy Parker ,
Frank Cavett
production Walter Wanger
music Frank Skinner ,
Daniele Amfitheatrof
camera Stanley Cortez
cut Milton Carruth

Not mentioned in the film, among others:
Ernie Adams , Erville Alderson , Sam Ash , Virginia Carroll , Tom Chatterton , Dorothy Christy , Matt Dennis , Bess Flowers , William Gould , Beatrice Gray , Victoria Horne , Caren Marsh , George Meeker , Harold Miller , Noel Neill , Vivien Oakland , Milburn Stone , Ethel Wales

Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman is an American feature film from 1947. Directed by Stuart Heisler , the screenplay was written by John Howard Lawson based on a story by Dorothy Parker and Frank Cavett . The main roles were played by Susan Hayward and Lee Bowman .


The very successful and talented singer Angelica Evans, who needs a drink every time she performs, ends her career to marry the musician Ken Conway. Ken and his partner Steve Nelson are still at the very beginning of his career. When Angie becomes pregnant and the money is still lacking, her manager Mike Dawson gives Ken a job as a western singer, on the radio at six in the morning. He also had to go to the radio studio during the birth of his daughter Angel. There he sings a love song he wrote to Angie. This is how his success as a singer begins. Soon he can afford to fulfill all of the wishes that Angie thinks he has: a luxury apartment with servants, including a nanny, so that she doesn't have to worry about anything. However, his career leaves him less and less time for her. Angie can only communicate with him through his secretary Martha Gray (even when she calls him in his hotel room at four o'clock in the morning because of Angels pneumonia). Martha is now not only getting all of his presents for Angie, she is also looking for them or planning them (including the new apartment or the “honeymoon” finally made up). The already insecure Angie sits around at home without any tasks, worries about her marriage and turns to alcohol more and more often. As a result, she is mostly drunk when Ken has time for her.

After the family doctor Dr. When Lorenz asked Ken about his wife's alcoholism and Steve said that Angie needed a job and some responsibility, Ken decided to let her organize one of his receptions. This reception was initially a success. However, Angie also invited Martha. As she sees herself more and more out of focus, she gets drunk, becomes jealous of Martha and begins to hit her. During the night she is ashamed of it and, still drunk, begins to despair. She seeks help from Ken, who is angry about her behavior and shows it. She gets angry about this, accuses him of being too cowardly to talk about a divorce himself and throws him out. The next morning she realizes what she has done and calls him, but only reaches Steve. He tries in vain to bring Ken and Angie back together. Ken insists on the divorce. He still loves Angie and wants to keep giving her everything; But he doesn't want to trust Angel anymore. During the conversation it also emerges that Martha loved Ken from the beginning and only now understands that there is nothing for her to hope for.

Angie wants to revive her career, especially to show that she can take care of Angel on her own. Shortly before her first appearance, however, she realizes that she need not hope to see Angel again at first. She then roams the clubs and gets so drunk that she eventually falls asleep in a doorway. In the apartment where she wakes up the next morning, she hears children playing on the street and sets out to kidnap Angel. She is happy to be able to take care of her daughter again, but does not manage to stay sober. When she sings her bedtime song to Angel, she mourns her marriage and forgets her lit cigarette in Angel's bed. She buries herself in her memories with a few drinks, from which she is torn by Angel's alarm calls. She barely manages to save Angel from the burning house and then collapses on the street. At the hospital, it turns out that she will recover and no scars are left. Ken now understands what he did wrong, and Angie got such a shock that she breaks off the alcohol. Nothing stands in the way of a happy continuation of the marriage.



Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman was produced by Walter Wanger Productions .


The shooting took place between late May and mid-August 1946. Filming locations were Sutton Place and Central Park in New York and at Universal Studios in Universal City , California .

Cast & Crew

Susan Hayward became a star with Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman ; she got her first Oscar nomination for the film .

For screenwriter John Howard Lawson this was the last film before his appearance before the Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) on October 29, 1947. This brought him a professional ban and a prison sentence. Lawson is counted in the Hollywood Ten .

Alexander Golitzen was responsible for the production design .


Five different songs are sung in Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman . Life Can Be Beautiful , Hushabye Island and I Miss That Feeling by Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson , as well as A Cowboy's Never Lonesome and Lonely Little Ranch House by Jack Brooks (the latter also by Edgar Fairchild ). Plays Life Can Be Beautiful a certain role as the song that Ken writes for Angie and multiply and their loss is in the film as a symbol of their love. Plus, it's the song with which Ken makes the final breakthrough.

World premieres

Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman was released in US cinemas in March 1947. There was no official German premiere.

The film was distributed by Universal Pictures in 1947 .



Bosley Crowther slating Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman in his criticism of 1947. He mentioned similarities to The Lost Weekend and A Star Is Born , but said the film could even remotely come close to either of them. He is particularly critical of the script; it is written weakly and unconvincingly, making the main character's reasons for alcoholism seem random and artificial. He also found that the song Life Can Be Beautiful was "grunted" so often that anyone "not quite a jukebox fanatic" could "feel tempted to shout their disapproval." Susan Hayward played her character with a serious one Accuracy that, as a drunk , would often turn the scenes into inappropriate burlesque . He finds it remarkable that her appearance is never confused in an unflattering way. He comes to the conclusion that the film "apart from all the drinking of a lady and a lot of fashionable chics" offers "little more than some old-fashioned teardrop from a bar".

Sixty years later, Emanuel Levy found much more positive words about the film. It was one of the most famous Fallen Woman roles of Susan Hayward, the direction was "with taste" and the camera was done extremely well by Stanley Cortez . He points out that the film would probably not have been made without the success of The Lost Weekend and that the originality of the story seems questionable, since Dorothy Parker also worked on A Star Goes on .

Craig Butler says that Susan Hayward was never better than in the film (albeit similarly good several times) that earned her an Oscar nomination. Yes, the film is a star vehicle , but the "intelligent script" and the direction are an unexpected bonus. He also points to the excellent achievements of Eddie Albert and Marsha Hunt . Jonathan Rosenbaum says the film has never received the recognition it deserves and is crying out for a reassessment. He finds the "powerfully written" script by John Howard Lawson worth mentioning.

But even in 1947 there were more positive reviews. The Variety speaks of a competent director and believes that Susan Hayward easily mastered a difficult acting task. The other actors and actresses (apart from Lee Bowman) are also good, but are mostly "overshadowed by Miss Hayward". Scriptwriter John Howard Larson, on the other hand, is blamed for all of the unsuccessful scenes without further explanation.

Grossing results

Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman grossed about $ 2 million in US and Canadian cinemas in 1947, making it only 74th on the list of the most successful films of the year.


Susan Hayward was at the Academy Awards in 1948 for her role in Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman in the category Best Actress nomination, but lost to Loretta Young ( The farmer's daughter ) . Dorothy Parker and Frank Cavett were also nominated in the Best Original Story category . There the award went to Valentine Davies for The Miracle of Manhattan .


There was a rumor in Hollywood that Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman was based on the story of Dixie Lee's marriage to Bing Crosby . Current websites also claim this. Walter Wanger , the film's producer, has vehemently denied any intentional similarities.

Web links

Commons : Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e Smash Up - The Story of a Woman. In: The American Film Institute. Retrieved February 3, 2017 .
  2. Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947) Filming Locations. In: IMDb. Retrieved February 3, 2017 .
  3. ^ John Howard Lawson papers, 1905-1977 Manuscripts. In: Southern Illinois University Carbondale website . Retrieved February 3, 2017 ( Biographical Note section ).
  4. Bosley Crowther: 'Smash-Up, Story of a Woman,' in Which Susan Hayward Is Seen as an Alcoholic, Makes Its Bow at Capitol Theater . In: The New York Times . April 11, 1947 (English, online [accessed February 3, 2017]).
  5. Emanuel Levy: Smash Up: The Story of a Woman. In: April 9, 2007, accessed February 3, 2017 .
  6. Craig Butler: Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947). In: AllMovie. Retrieved February 3, 2017 .
  7. Jonathan Rosenbaum: Smash-up, the Story of a Woman. In: Retrieved February 3, 2017 .
  8. Smash Up - The Story of a Woman . In: Variety . February 1947, February 5, 1947, pp.  12 (English, online at [accessed February 3, 2017]).
  9. Top Grossers of 1947 . In: Variety . January 1948, January 7, 1948, pp. 63 (English, online at [accessed February 3, 2017]).
  10. ^ A b Peter Stanfield: Body and Soul Jazz and Blues in American Film 1927-63 . University of Illinois Press, Urbana / Chicago 2005, ISBN 0-252-07235-9 , pp. 132 (English, limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed February 3, 2017]).
  11. Dixie Lee Biography. In: IMDb. Retrieved on February 3, 2017 (English, first point under Trivia).
  12. ^ Raymond De Felitta: Smash Up: The Story of Dixie Lee Crosby. In: MoviesTilDawn. July 20, 2012, accessed February 3, 2017 .