It’s a shame that One More Tomorrow is not a better film. Not that it’s bad, it’s just that the potential was there to be so much more than the sum of its parts. Based on Phillip Barry’s 1932 Broadway play, The Animal Kingdom that starred Leslie Howard, it was filmed for the first time under the original title with Howard recreating his role of the frivolous playboy Tom Collier. Added to the film’s cast was Ann Harding as Daisy Sage, a bohemian artist, and Myrna Loy, a money hungry socialite, as the two women in his life. Like other works by Barry, the theme of the free-thinking versus the conservatively privileged upper class is at work (Holiday, The Philadelphia Story). I have not seen the 1932 film which from what I have read is stronger in its social commentary but moves at a slower pace. That said, One More Tomorrow is an entertaining film with plenty on its mind. It does get a bit soapy, and its storyline ending is predictable, but given a chance, you will see there’s more to it.
Like many of Barry’s works, it involves a threesome. In this case, the story includes the previously mentioned Tom Collier III (Dennis Morgan), a wealthy playboy whose life consists of nothing but party after party, all good times. That is until he meets photographer Chrissie Sage (Ann Sheridan), hired by his family to photograph his thirty-second surprise birthday party for the rich set’s social pages. Their meeting is the start of a beautiful relationship, and a social conscience for the frivolous Tom. Also at the party is Cecilia Henry (Alexis Smith), a socialite who puts money above everything and sets her greedy eyes on Tom.
Despite Cecelia’s attempts to attract Tom’s attention, he soon splits from the party catching a ride back to New York with Christie and her assistant Frankie (Jane Wyman). The two women share an apartment with three others including Jim Fisk (Reginald Gardner), the publisher of a financially strapped liberal magazine they all work for called The Bantam. In debt for seven thousand dollars, Tom decides to purchase it. This, of course, goes against everything his fundamentalist family, especially his conservative father Rufus (Thurston Hall), stands for in life. Like most parents when children do something they don’t like, they hope it is just a phase, and it will pass. However, Tom has fallen in love with Christie, as she has with him. However, when Tom proposes marriage, Chrissie declines. She knows they come from two different worlds, he is one of privilege, and hers working class. Chrissie lies and tells Tom she doesn’t love him. She wants a career, and marriage would mean kids and family. Chrissie and Frankie quit the magazine and heads to Mexico to pursue their art.
Back into the picture comes Cecelia with her greedy claws out. Tom becomes helpless in her grasp. They soon marry, and she quickly takes control of his life. One of the things she does is convince Tom to get rid of Pat Regan, (Jack Carson) Tom’s Butler, but more importantly Tom’s best friend. For Cecelia, Pat is uncouth, unsophisticated, and more importantly, holds too much influence on Tom for Cecelia to stand.
Christie eventually returns to New York, and her new arty photos of Mexico soon get a gallery showing. She invites Tom but Cecelia, who sides with Tom’s father in all matters, manipulates him into missing the show’s opening. When Jim Fisk, still publishing the liberal magazine Bantam, plans to issue a story about Albany Copper, a company Tom’s father has investments in, Jim warns Tom some of his father’s friends may end up prosecuted and sent to jail. Tom tells Jim to go ahead and publish the story. However, when Cecelia finds out about this she lies to Tom, telling him that Dad isn’t just a stockholder in Albany Copper, he owns most of the company, and if the story goes out, old dad may be the one going to jail. Tom gets second thoughts and tells Jim not to publish the story.
Christie visits Cecelia to try and to clear the bad air. She tells her that having investigated the sources and having written the story about Albany Copper, she know Jim’s Dad, Rufus, is not running the company and is not liable in any lawsuit. She wants Cecelia to tell Tom the truth. Later, Pat Regan hearing Rufus and Cecelia secretly talk about all this, reveals the duplicity to Tom who confronts his wife with her lies, lies that have existed through their marriage. Christie admits she always loved Tom and it was a mistake to have left. Cecelia heads to Nevada for a quickie divorce that will cost Tom much of his fortune, but Tom and Christie are together and will happily run the magazine.
The ending wraps up everything a little too neatly to get that happy Hollywood ending. Still, the film has a lot of good things going for it. One of my favorite aspects is Ann Sheridan’s photographer, Christie. This character may just be the first female lead to portray a professional photographer. Back then, photographers on screen were men usually seen working for a newspaper. Additionally, Christie works for a radical magazine, and eventually leaves to go to Mexico. She comes back to New York with an exhibition of her Mexico work. It’s not received well by the critics, but that is not the point. Christie has stretched herself and turned herself into an artist. She was a woman with a plan. On the other side of the coin is Alexis Smith’s Cecelia. The character is a bit too evident in her evilness. There is nothing subtle about her role and how vicious, scheming and just awful she is.