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Sometimes the subject of a film leaves me a little weary. There are some subject matters that are just hard to watch, and that is exactly what Problem Pictures were all about. "Problem Pictures" are films such as The Lost Weekend and The Snake Pit--pictures that addressed the problems of the day such as alcohol and insane aslyums. Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman is one of the best of those problem pictures.
Loosely based off of singer Dixie Lee's life, Bing Crosby's first wife, Smash-Up lets you know in the very first scene that something very serious has occured, and that it was not something that just happened, but rather something that has been built up into something overpowering, controlling, and relentless. We know from the very first scene that Angelica Evans, Susan Hayward, has hit rock bottom. We just don't know why.
By the second scene, however, we do: Alcohol. It's the devil's drink. It has ruined the lives of many men--and women.
I have not seen too many of Susan Hayward's films, but I know that she was one of the greatest actresses during the Golden Age of Hollywood--and of any othe time for that matter. For some unknown reason to me, however, she is not as well remembered today as such actresses as Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and Barbara Stanwyck. This film, out of many of her works, prove that she should be. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress (the first of five nominations).