Starring Susan Hayward, Rory Calhoun, David Wayne, Thelma Ritter, Robert Wagner, Helen Westcott, Una Merkel
Directed by Walter Lang
Plot **CONTAINS SPOILERS**: “Jane Froman (Susan Hayward), an aspiring songstress, lands a job in radio with help from pianist Don Ross (David Wayne), whom she later marries. Jane's popularity soars, and she leaves on a European tour... but her plane crashes in Lisbon, and she is partially crippled. Unable to walk without crutches, Jane nevertheless goes on to entertain the Allied troops in World War II.” (from IMDb)
This film definitely has some good things going for it (which I talk more about below) but I thought the story itself was a bit sad—the plane crash, how her marriage fell apart, etc. Nevertheless, it’s still an interesting true story that combines music, patriotism, and drama.
Jane Froman (Hayward) singing radio commercials near the beginning of her career.
According to IMDb, Marilyn Monroe later wore this exact same costume (pictured above) in 1956’s Bus Stop.
Susan Hayward lip-synced to recordings of the real Jane Froman’s singing. That gives the movie an interesting touch because we are listening to the real singer. Speaking of Froman, I'm quite enthralled with her talent. She has such an amazing voice! You can listen to one of her songs—and learn more about her—by going to her website (it'll play automatically if you have your volume turned on). I can’t believe I’d never heard of her before!
The fateful plane journey.
This movie has a lot of songs in it, but I honestly didn’t notice that it was more than usual because they are so good! The soundtrack on this really could not be better. In fact, Alfred Newman won an Oscar for his musical scoring of the film.
I thought Hayward was great in this film. She really put her whole heart into the role. I’m eager to see more of her movies. For her performance in this film, she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.
If for nothing else, I recommend watching this film for Thelma Ritter. This is one of her best roles, in my opinion. She’s terrific!
The Academy nominated Thelma for Best Supporting actress. The film also garnered Oscar nominations in the areas of costume design and sound recording.
A very young Robert Wagner appears twice in the film—once as an audience member at one of Jane’s shows (above) and later as a shell-shocked soldier (below).
I definitely recommend watching the extras on this film if you see it on DVD. The movie ends with quite a few things left undecided: what happens to her relationship with Burn, whether she ended up losing her leg, etc. The special features explain the real life story of Jane Froman and how they went about adapting it to screen. It helps to fill in some of the gaps of the film.