Claudette Colbert is Elizabeth MacDonald, a recently married woman, whose husband, John (Orson Welles), enlists in the Army and departs for Europe in the final months of World War I.
John is horribly disfigured by a bomb and spends many months in a European hospital.
However, word is sent to Elizabeth that her husband has died.
When it is discovered that Elizabeth is pregnant, Larry Hamilton, the man Elizabeth works for (played by the the VERY dashing George Brent), invites her to come live at his home, where his aunt (Lucile Watson) will be able to care for her.
Eventually, Larry falls in love with Elizabeth and marries her, raising her child as his own. The child isn't aware that his mother had been married before or that Larry is not his real father.
Fast-forward twenty years, to the beginnings of the second world war. Elizabeth and Larry's son (named John Andrew after his biological father) is all grown-up and wants to join the war effort in Europe. Elizabeth cannot bear the thought of her son going off to war----to lose him would be like losing John all over again.
Meanwhile, Larry's company has hired a new consultant, a newly-arrived European refugee with a young daughter (Natalie Wood, in her first credited role). This man, known as Erich Kessler , is none other than John MacDonald, and he, of course, recognizes Elizabeth immediately.
Will recognition dawn for Elizabeth? What will happen to her marriage to Larry? Will her obsession with the past and her fear of the past repeating itself tie her son to her apronstrings forever? Will Eric/John tell Drew that he is his father? All these questions will be answered by the end of this very touching film.
George Brent is completely wonderful in this film---he's the proverbial knight in shining armor. And I love that little bit of gray which was added at the temples in order to age him 20 years.
Claudette Colbert is her usual elegant, classy-looking self. Orson Welles, who I'm not overly familiar with, was very good in this role. His chemistry with the young Natalie Wood was terrific. And speaking of Natalie Wood, Robert Osborne said that Irving Pichel, director of this film, had seen her in an earlier uncredited role and when he needed a little girl for Tomorrow Is Forever, he remembered "the little girl with the big eyes" and sought her out. Although her first screen test didn't "wow" him, at her mother's request, he gave her another test, and "voila!" a star was born.
Tomorrow Is Forever is a very heart-tugging movie. Though it doesn't bring sobs, it definitely gets me misty-eyed a few times. The film is now out on DVD (having been released last summer), so you ought to be able to track it down. It is also available in its entirety on YouTube (HERE). Definitely see it if you can---I think it's a beautiful film.