From This Day Forward

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From This Day Forward
Directed by John Berry
Produced by Jack J. Gross (executive producer)
William Pereira (producer)
Written by Garson Kanin (adaption)
Hugo Butler (screenplay)
Clifford Odets (uncredited)[1]
Starring Joan Fontaine
Mark Stevens
Rosemary DeCamp
Harry Morgan
Music by Leigh Harline
Cinematography George Barnes
Edited by Frank Doyle
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • March 27, 1946 (1946-03-27) ( Premiere-San Francisco)[2]
  • April 19, 1946 (1946-04-19) (U.S.)[2]
Running time
95 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $650,000[3]

From This Day Forward is a 1946 American drama film directed by John Berry, starring Joan Fontaine and Mark Stevens.


Army sergeant Bill Cummings (Mark Stevens) is about to be discharged after service in World War II. He was a blue collar worker in civilian life and is seeking employment. As he fills out forms and speaks to personnel at the United States Employment Service, he thinks back on the life events that brought him to this point.

Flashbacks show him at various times in his prewar life. He is shown meeting and marrying his wife Susan (Joan Fontaine) in 1938. Other flashbacks describe their hardscrabble life in a poor neighborhood of New York City during the Great Depression. He and various relatives are shown as frequently unemployed and having difficulty making a living.

He and Susan's financial ups and downs are depicted, as are the humiliation of being supported by Susan's bookstore clerking job, and unfairly being prosecuted as a pornographer.

At the conclusion of the film, he is shown being referred to a badly needed job interview, and that Susan is pregnant.


Political context[edit]

Called "the most expressively optimistic film of the postwar Left" and "literally working-class cinema",[1] the screenplay was adapted from the 1936 novel "All Brides are Beautiful" by working-class immigrant novelist Thomas Bell. Director Berry and screenwriter Hugo Butler would both be caught in the Hollywood blacklist, and the uncredited writer Odets appeared as a HUAC friendly witness.[4]


The New York Times reviewer called the film "a plotless succession of episodes," and said "there may be some purpose in all this but we couldn't quite make it out—unless it is simply to demonstrate that unemployment is a very bad thing." The critic said that Fontaine's performance as a Bronx housewife was unconvincing.[5]

Variety said the flashbacks make "it sometimes difficult to follow as a whole, but there can be no quarrel with the merit of presentation and acting of the individual sequences." [6]

Time Out Film Guide said that "such strands as post-war optimism, the impact of neo-realism, the socialist convictions of director and chief writer (Butler), both blacklist-bound, can easily be picked out. But as ever when Hollywood tried to engage with everyday realities, the trade off came in glamourisation - syrupy music, Fontaine (as Stevens' wife) never looking less than a film star, and an idea of poverty that must have irritated many audiences on home ground, never mind in Europe."[7]


The film made a profit of $362,000.[8]

Radio adaptation[edit]

From This Day Forward was presented on Lux Radio Theatre October 28, 1946. Fontaine and Stevens reprised their roles in the adaptation.[9]


  1. ^ a b Blacklisted: The Film Lover's Guide to the Hollywood Blacklist, Paul Budle and Dave Wagner, page 79
  2. ^ a b "From This Day Forward: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ Variety 12 September 1945 p 12
  4. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph (December 1, 1999). "John Berry, 82, Stage and Film Director Who Exiled Himself During Blacklisting of 1950's". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  5. ^ Crowther, Bosley (20 April 1946). "MOVIE REVIEWTHE SCREEN IN REVIEW; 'From This Day Forward,' RKO Film Starring Joan Fontaine, Has Premiere at the Palace". The New York Times. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ "From This Day Forward". Variety. 31 December 1945. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  7. ^ "From This Day Forward Review. Movie Reviews". Time Out Film Guide. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  8. ^ Richard B. Jewell, Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio Pictures, Uni of California, 2016
  9. ^ "LRT Guest". Harrisburg Telegraph. October 26, 1946. p. 21. Retrieved September 29, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read

External links[edit]