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Something to Live For

Something to Live For(1952)

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One night in New York, Alan Miller, a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, appears at a Times Square hotel, having been summoned by Billy, the elevator operator. Alan is surprised to discover that the person he is to help is a woman, as he is usually sent to aid men. The intoxicated woman, actress Jenny Carey, is equally unnerved to see Alan and almost sends him away. By describing an exotic cocktail he wants to order, Alan, a recently recovered alcoholic, tricks Jenny into going to a restaurant with him and eating dinner. When Jenny sobers up, she realizes that she has missed her second rehearsal in a row but cannot explain to Alan why she drinks. The next morning, Alan tells his understanding wife Edna a little bit about Jenny, and she admits that she still worries about his drinking. At the advertising agency where he works as a copywriter, Alan then learns from his boss, Crawley, that his idea for a Bahamas ad campaign has been rejected in favor of his rival Baker's more romantic approach. Concerned about Alan's state of mind, Crawley questions him, but Alan insists he is fine. Jenny, meanwhile, goes to the theater for a rehearsal, but finds that another actress has taken over her part. Unaware that Alan has tried to reach her at her hotel and gone out to lunch, Jenny, distraught, attempts to call him. At the restaurant, Alan again tries to call Jenny, but just misses her. Disconsolate, Alan sits at the bar and, surrounded by alcohol, gives in and orders a cocktail. Before the drink arrives, Jenny walks in and spots him. After she confesses that she is struggling with her need to drink, the bartender serves Alan his cocktail, and Jenny runs out, angry. Alan follows her into a deserted theater and says that he, too, is battling temptation. Alan then reveals that he is married, with two children, and Jenny describes her self-destructive romance with Tony Collins, the theatrical director who launched her acting career. Back at her hotel, Alan and Jenny admit that they need each other and kiss. Later, Alan learns that he has been assigned a new shoe account and looks forward to the challenge. Jenny then calls to report that she has a new acting job and asks Alan to meet her in the Egyptian room at the museum. There, Alan helps Jenny rehearse a love scene from The Egyptians , the play in which she has been cast. After they kiss, Alan's son suddenly appears with his grade school class. Alan makes excuses for his presence, and that night at dinner, tells Edna that he went to the museum to do some sketching for work. Edna, who has revealed that she is pregnant, senses Alan's unease but cannot get him to talk. She then finds pages of Jenny's script in his coat pocket, which Alan claims are part of a new Egyptian-themed ad campaign. Later, Alan and Edna attend a party hosted by Baker, and Alan is startled to see Jenny. After Baker explains that he invited Jenny hoping to lure Tony to the party, Alan grabs two plates of food and suggests that he and Jenny eat together. Once alone, Alan asks Jenny why she has been avoiding him, and she admits that seeing his son in the museum disturbed her. Edna, who has been keeping her eye on Alan from a neighboring table, watches with curiosity when Tony arrives and sits next to Jenny. The egotistical, jealous Tony teases Jenny and Alan for not drinking and makes cruel remarks about Jenny's acting. After telling Tony that he knows nothing about love, Jenny leaves, near tears. In the cab home, Edna quietly remarks to Alan that Jenny appears to be a girl who could be easily hurt. Later that night, Jenny lies in her hotel bed as her telephone rings and rings. When Billy enters, worried, she instructs him to answer the phone and tell Alan that she is fine and sober. Sometime later, Alan and Baker present their respective ideas for the shoe campaign, and Alan's is chosen. Despite his victory, Alan is depressed and calls Jenny's hotel. Billy tells him that Jenny is leaving that night for the play's out-of-town tryouts, and Alan goes to the train station to meet her. Although glad to see Alan, Jenny is distant, and they part on uncertain terms. Weeks later, Alan suffers through the office Christmas party, distracted by thoughts of Jenny, whose play is opening on Broadway that night. When he finally comes home, Edna demands to know what is troubling him, but he continues to insist that all is well. Just as Edna gets the idea to take Alan to see The Egyptians , Billy calls to report that Jenny has locked herself in her room. Alan rushes to the hotel and discovers Jenny passed out on the bed. After rousing her, he kisses her and cajoles her to admit that she loves him, as he loves her. He then declares that despite everything, they must find strength in their feelings, not sorrow. Bolstered by Alan's words, Jenny takes a cold shower and arrives at the theater moments before curtain call. Alan joins Edna in the audience, and Edna soon hears Jenny utter the lines from the script pages in Alan's coat pocket. Now fully aware, a forgiving Edna whispers to Alan that she once wanted to be an actress, but chose to be a wife and mother instead.