Susan Hayward's career was made with Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman, the film that catapulted her to stardom and earned her a well-deserved Oscar nomination. Something of a distaff answer to The Lost Weekend, Smash-Up would be welcome if it were nothing other than a vehicle for Hayward's no-holds-barred, bravura performance. That it also features an intelligent screenplay and assured direction is an unexpected bonus. While never hiding the fact that it is essentially a melodrama, the film's manipulations are carried off lightly; the viewer knows that he's being set up to have his emotions pulled one way or another, but it works so well that he really doesn't mind too much. Somehow, the writers have made the plot twists and turns seem inevitable rather than expected. There's also some very fine work from Eddie Albert and Marsha Hunt, and good (if less than dazzling) work from Lee Bowman. But it's Hayward's film all the way, and she delivers everything that's asked of her. One of the pleasant surprises is how touching, warm, and vulnerable the actress is. Her tough-broad persona, which came to border on camp in some of her later work, is present in this film, but it's only a part of her complex personality. Although Hayward would turn in performances that equaled her work here, none surpassed it.