DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

Tomorrow: Blu-ray + DVD Review

Tomorrow (1972) movie poster Tomorrow

Theatrical Release: April 9, 1972 / Running Time: 102 Minutes / Rating: PG

Director: Joseph Anthony / Writers: Horton Foote (play & screenplay); William Faulkner (story)

Cast: Robert Duvall (Jackson Fentry), Olga Bellin (Sarah Eubanks), Sudie Bond (Mrs. Hulie), Richard McConnell (Isham Russell), Peter Masterson (Lawyer Douglas), William Hawley (Papa Fentry), James Franks (Preacher Whitehead), Johnny Mask (Jackson and Longstreet Fentry), Effie Green (Storekeper), Ken Lindley (Judge), R.M. Weaver (Jury Foreman), Dick Dougherty (Buck Thorpe), Jeff Williams (H.T. Bookwright), Jack Simley (Bud Thorpe), Billy Summerford (Les Thorpe), Thomas C. Coggin (Les Thorpe)

Buy Tomorrow: Blu-ray + DVD from Amazon.com

For nearly seventy years, Horton Foote wrote for the stage and the screen. Though he regularly dabbled in original screenplays (and won that designated Oscar for 1983 drama Tender Mercies),
some of his best-known film credits adapted American literature, including 1962's outstanding To Kill a Mockingbird and 1992's Of Mice and Men. Not all of Foote's adaptations are as widely known. In between Mockingbird and Tender, the writer penned a smaller move that also featured Robert Duvall in the cast.

Tomorrow, released in 1972, finds Foote adapting his own 1968 play based on a 1939 short story by William Faulkner. Foote was no stranger to Faulkner; he adapted the author's Old Man for television in 1959 and again in 1997, earning an Emmy nomination for the first and a win for the second. Though the two southerners never met, Faulkner was fond enough of Foote's first Old Man to share the copyrights to the original story and Tomorrow, meaning any future adaptations would have to go through the estate of Foote, who passed way in 2009 a week before his 93rd birthday.

Duvall plays Jackson Fentry, a cotton farmer who is hired as winter caretaker for a Mississippi sawmill. The work suits Jackson fine, for he doesn't have much to say or seemingly much on his mind. On Christmas Eve morning, as Jackson is preparing to return home for the holiday, he encounters a pregnant woman deep asleep on some logs outside the sawmill. Her name is Sarah Eubanks (Olga Bellin) and she's evidently been abandoned by her husband, whom marrying brought estrangement from her father and three brothers. Jackson invites Sarah to warm up inside and extends the hospitality to until she can give birth.

In "Tomorrow", cotton farmer and sawmill caretaker Jackson Fentry (Robert Duvall) welcomes a wife (Olga Bellin) and newborn child into his life.

Jackson remains emotionless while sharing his home with this stranger for over a month, so when out of the blue he spontaneously says "Marry me, Sarah", it surprises us. She refuses, pointing out she's already married and that a second one would be against the law. She reconsiders his proposal after she gives birth to a boy, delivered by a midwife who eventually recognizes her and silently wonders about her situation. A preacher is quickly brought in and the world's saddest wedding ceremony is held between the laconic Jackson and his bedbound bride who's just given birth to another man's child and now worries she's dying.

Though their plan is to move into a house that Jackson is to build with the help of the sawmillers, another pitiful ceremony is just around the corner, this one leaving Jackson to raise Sarah's newborn child entirely on his own. Midwife Mrs. Hulie (Sudie Bond) sells him a goat for cheap that he'll have to milk every two hours, but though he seems ill-equipped to raise a child, we see otherwise as the boy briefly grows up and brings out a light in Jackson's eyes. This sweetness and happiness is short-lived, as more misfortune enters the life of quiet loner Jackson Fentry.

Tomorrow is a definite downer, lifting your spirit only briefly before breaking your heart all over again. It can't be dismissed for its depressive quality, although it is tough to find any appeal amidst the darkness, even in a story that's ostensibly about discovering one's capacity for love.

Jackson (Robert Duvall) happily raises the young boy he names Jackson and Longstreet Fentry (Johnny Mask) on his own, with heartbreaking results.

Tomorrow is shot in black and white and has a timeless quality to it. If you didn't recognize Duvall and as being of comparable age to his appearances in The Godfather and its sequel (this was presumably filmed between them), you could easily deduce that the film was made anytime between 1939 and the 1980s.

With some notable exceptions, Duvall often excels with understatement. He provides that here, along with a deep monotone dialect that sounds nothing like the actor. There are hints of Sling Blade's protagonist Karl Childers in this simple characterization, whether or not Billy Bob Thornton drew from this obscure backwoods drama for his Academy Award-winning screenplay (which, fittingly enough, cast Duvall as his father).

Between my underwhelming reaction to this and my flat out disdain for last year's As I Lay Dying directed, co-written, and starring James Franco, I am starting to think that there is validity to the "unfilmable" reputation of Faulkner's writing. Tomorrow is too unassuming, obscure, and sincere to strongly dislike, but it's tough to muster any emotional response to such a simple presentation that's ice cold for 90% of its runtime.

Duvall and Foote are by far the most accomplished people involved in this film. Leading lady Olga Bellin must have primarily been a stage actress. Besides nine staggered television roles (including the soap opera "Another World"), this was her only film credit; she died of cancer in 1987 at age 54. A playwright and stage actor, director Joseph Anthony is perhaps best known (if at all) for the handful of films he helmed, which began with the Burt Lancaster-Katharine Hepburn western romance The Rainmaker and ended with this.

Released to DVD by Home Vision Entertainment back in 2004 and long since discontinued, Tomorrow recently made its Blu-ray debut in a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack from an independent company called B2MP, Inc. Their fifth high-def release, this two-disc set is available directly from them and from Amazon but nowhere else.

Tomorrow (1972) Blu-ray + DVD combo pack cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

1.78:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
BD: 1.0 LPCM (English); DVD: Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Subtitles: English
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled
Release Date: May 6, 2014 / Retail Price: $29.98 ($34.98 at Amazon)
Two single-sided discs (BD-25 & DVD-9)
Blue Keepcase
Previously released on Home Vision Entertainment DVD (May 4, 2004)

VIDEO and AUDIO

The Blu-ray's 1.78:1 picture looks quite all right. There is some grain throughout that's heavy at times but usually light. The element manages to stay clean otherwise, if not terribly sharp or detailed. Between the thick period accents and the simple, aged recordings, dialogue is a bit tough to make out in the LPCM 2.0 monaural soundtrack. Fortunately, English subtitles are included and the yellow characters are easily read against the gray visuals.

Despite its present obscurity, "Tomorrow" made a bunch of top ten lists back in its day. Tomorrow's Blu-ray and DVD naturally opt for a simplistic menu.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The only bonus feature on each disc is the film's theatrical trailer (1:58), presented in 1.33:1 standard definition
with the clarity of an old homemade VHS. This doesn't appear from the original release, as Duvall is called an Academy Award winner (which he didn't become until Tender Mercies in early 1984) and there are all kinds of critical acclaim attached that likely wouldn't have been around before the film's release. It does seem like the movie was playing in theaters at various different times, though; the MPAA assigned it a PG rating in 1982.

The basic, silent, static menu places a still shot of the saw mill next to a swatch of the cover art. Unfortunately, the Blu-ray Disc isn't authored to let you set bookmarks or resume unfinished playback.

The plainly-labeled DVD and cover-adapted Blu-ray take opposite sides of a standard blue keepcase, joined by no inserts.

Best Christmas ever?! Sarah Eubanks (Olga Bellin) enjoys some hard candy Jackson buys her from the general store. Jackson Fentry (Robert Duvall) may not be a smart man, but he knows what love is.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

As a Robert Duvall fan, the prospect of discovering a forgotten film he made the same year as The Godfather sounds too good to be true. Sadly, though, Tomorrow isn't too good for anything. Duvall gives a strong performance as always, but this story is just too bleak and sparse to derive any enjoyment. B2MP's adequate but basic Blu-ray seems far too slight to justify the $30 asking price ($39 with shipping if you go through Amazon).

Buy Tomorrow: Blu-ray + DVD from Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
Robert Duvall:
The Godfather Trilogy Francis Ford Coppola: 5-Film Collection Jayne Mansfield's Car Sling Blade Newsies
Jack Reacher The Road Phenomenon Four Christmases

Badlands Heaven's Gate Nebraska That Evening Sun Killing Season True Grit (2010)
Adapted from William Faulkner: As I Lay Dying | New: Ace in the Hole The Women (1939)

DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

Search This Site:

DVDizzy.com Top Stories:

Reviewed May 31, 2014.



Text copyright 2014 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 1972 FilmGroup Productions, Castle Hill Productions, and 2014 B2MP, Inc.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.