Mary Marshall, serving a six year term for accidental manslaughter, is given a Christmas furlough from prison to visit her closest relatives, her uncle and his family in a small Midwestern town. On the train she meets Zach Morgan, a troubled army sergeant on leave for the holidays from a military hospital. Although his physical wounds have healed, he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and is subject to panic attacks. The pair are attracted to one another and in the warm atmosphere of the Christmas season friendship blossoms into romance, but Mary is reluctant to tell him of her past and that she must shortly return to prison to serve the remainder of her sentence. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Written originally in 1937 the song I'll Be Seeing You struck a right chord in the wartime American public and enjoyed a big revival during the World War II years. A whole lot of artists recorded it, Bing Crosby's Decca record was the biggest seller. It was inevitable that someone would use it as a title for a film and David O. Selznick was the one who brought it to the big screen.
Watching the film I'll Be Seeing You I was struck by the fact that this film showed the essential difference between the two warring global factions. There's no way that two protagonists in Nazi Germany or Bushido Japan would be in a film like this, one of them being a shell shock surviving soldier the other one being a woman convicted of a homicide and on a furlough from prison. You could never show in Nazi Germany anyone who was less than a fierce Teutonic warrior. Democracies take account for human frailties, may it ever be so.
Joseph Cotten is our shell shocked soldier who's seen combat and it's shattered his nerves. His hospital doctors think a little time among some real ordinary American civilians might do him so good so he's furloughed from the hospital to visit his sister, but he finds she's moved away. So instead he decides to spend time with the family of a girl he met on the train.
That girl is Ginger Rogers who was convicted of a homicide, but a flashback sequence where she explains what happened to her cousin Shirley Temple shows Ginger might not be the hardened criminal one might imagine. In fact with a better she might have beat the rap. Still for good behavior she gets to spend the Christmas/New Year's holidays with aunt Spring Byington and uncle Tom Tully her closest relatives.
So these flawed and wounded souls meet and fall in love and the story runs pretty much along the lines that most wartime romances do, especially in World War II years. Both Cotten and Rogers do some really fine work in their well rounded portrayals of these people. And David O. Selznick rounded up a good cast to support them. Besides those already mentioned, take note of Chill Wills as the owner of a diner who was in the first World War and talks about his battle with shell shock which unnerves Cotten as he hasn't told Rogers yet. In fact the whole point of the film is both protagonists trying to summon up enough nerve to tell the other.
Of course the title song is heard at critical times in the film, but never too obtrusive. I'll Be Seeing You is a fine example of the wartime romance World War II movie.
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