There’s Always Tomorrow is an old-fashioned story of love, romance and responsibility. Frank Morgan is the under-appreciated father of five children. Despite the fact that all but one are grown they are all referred to as children. His role in the family is doormat. Morgan’s wife (Lois Wilson) is obsessed with the children and barely notices her husband. The children (Robert Taylor, Louise Latimer, Maurice Murphy, Dick Winslow and Helen Parrish) are spoiled rotten. Ella the maid (Margaret Hamilton) is the only one who pays any attention to him.
The film begins with a jubilant Frank Morgan on his his way home from work on his wedding anniversary with a surprise for his wife–flowers, dinner and a musical show. His happiness is deflated as he walks in the door and discovers that his wife won’t go because “the children” are having a party and would he please shovel coal into the furnace.
Ignored by his offspring and unable to find a place to sit down in his own house, Morgan ends up trying to read the paper on the front porch. A roadster pulls up and a beautiful woman (Binnie Barnes) climbs the step to the porch. She turns out to be a former employee of his whom he hasn’t seen in years. Ms. Barnes is the real star of the movie. She is graceful, elegant and has an extraordinarily expressive face.
The neglected Mr. Morgan and the glamorous Ms. Barnes rekindle an old relationship that eventually forces everyone to take a good look at themselves and try to put things right.
The world of There’s Always Tomorrow seems older than 1934. The original story was written by Ursula Parrott in the same year but the ambiance is Victorian. One of the delights of the film is the vehicles—huge, sleek, glossy cars and a giant streetcar. The costumes are sumptuous, mainly party clothes and some masquerade apparel. This is Robert Taylor’s first appearance as a Medieval knight, a role he will play with great success later.
There’s Always Tomorrow was Mr. Taylor’s second film, after Handy Andy starring Will Rogers. The film has three acts. In act one he smiles maniacally while participating in the “children’s” revels. Act two actually lets Mr. Taylor do some acting as he is devastated by his father’s seeming infidelity. In the third act he just sulks. It is hard to believe that in one year Robert Taylor will give a splendid performance in Magnificent Obsession and in two years hold his own with Garbo in Camille. Taylor and Ms. Barnes worked together three more times, in Small Town Girl (1936) Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937) and Where Angels Go Trouble Follows (1968).
There’s Always Tomorrow was directed by Edward Sloman and produced by Carl Laemmle for Universal Studios. It was remade in 1956 with Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray.
And for the fun of it:
Left to right: Robert Taylor, Binnie Barnes and Raymond Walburn in Broadway Melody of 1938; Raymond Walburn, Binnie Barnes and Robert Taylor in Where Angels Go Trouble Follows; Mr.Taylor, Ms. Barnes and Rosalind Russell in Angels.