Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947); directed by Stuart Heisler; story by Dorothy Parker and Frank Cavett; screenplay by John Howard Lawson with additional dialogue by Lionel WiggamSmash-Up

I had high hopes for hysterical melodrama in this cautionary tale of alcoholism, and given Susan Hayward’s track record, I shouldn’t have been disappointed. I was. The central problem is that the star doesn’t have enough unbridled drunk scenes. She can act with abandon – just look at I Want to Live! – but here she’s more restrained, trying to find the honor and dignity in her character. But honor and dignity are boring in near isolation, and if Susan Hayward isn’t going to ramp up the histrionics, the rest of the film had better be good. Yes, there’s a nice powder room brawl (which gets broken up too early):


but the scenes drag, and the supporting cast doesn’t make up for the lackluster story. Eddie Albert? He was more at home on Green Acres; here he’s looming about, waiting for something to do in an Eve Arden-type role, milling in and out of scenes as a sort of Greek chorus.

It's a pity that the film doesn't live up to the sensational promise of the posters.

It’s a pity that the film doesn’t live up to the sensational promise of the posters.

The combination of Susan Hayward and the subject of alcoholism (from a story by Dorothy Parker!) should have yielded two hours of exhausting havoc; instead it ends up a couple of short explosive scenes and lots of pap in between.