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What a great movie! As a veteran of now four combat deployments in our
most recent wars, I can attest to the great importance that the
strength of our families on the home front has for those in the combat
zone. This movie drives that point home wonderfully. We can never
forget that the families of our warriors serve just as the warriors do
and their love and support is critical to our success on the
Among the many very moving scenes is the one between Jennifer Jones and Monte Wooley, after the death of Robert Walker. For those of us who have had this same conversation with the loved ones of fallen soldiers, this scene rings so uncomfortably true.
I recommend this movie whole-heartedly to everyone, but especially to the current generation of military families and to those who support them.
Since You Went Away, written and produced by David Selznik, and
starring Claudette Colbert in an Oscar-nominated role, Jennifer Jones
in a brilliant performance, and a solid cast of supporting actors that
give the film great authenticity. This film was shot during WW 2
itself, and as such, has a greater feel of reality that most WW2 films
made after the end of the war.
Although a bit overly-sentimental in a few scenes, and a bit too long, the film still manages to hit our emotional cores with an array of issues that were prevalent during WW2. The telegram scenes, the phone calls and the work with disabled veterans all cannot fail to move the viewer. Selznik used almost his complete core of actors from Gone With the Wind to make this film, and for the most part, they clicked together again very well. The cinematography is first-rate and the dance scenes at the GI canteen are extremely impressive. The film highlights the struggles of American women and children who had to cope with long absences of their loved ones during the war. The music by Max Steiner won the Oscar for best music that year and it was well-deserved. Better bring at least two hankies for the ladies.
A 3-hour movie, even with a lot of action, is a tough go for any
production company. There's no action here. But producer Selznick was
shrewd enough to cast his epic with a bunch of charming actors. Sure,
the storyline gets sticky at times. After all this is the American Home
during wartime. Nonetheless, at its best, the cast generates a genuine
feeling of family warmth, thanks mainly to Colbert, Jones, and Temple.
Jones especially creates a lively and poignant young woman (Jane), who
could stand in for the best of that challenged generation.
The storyline is about what you'd expect for a Hollywood home front trying to cope with wars far away. There're the tentative romances among the young, the lonely wives waiting anxiously, the rationing and generally crowded conditions. Note though how easily strangers appear to mix under abnormal conditions. There is a sense of coming together because of the common sacrifice. Note too that the movie's one sour case comes from a woman, Emily (Moorehead), who won't give up her social pretensions. In short, she won't lower herself to join the bigger American family. Of course, there's the curmudgeonly colonel (Wooley), who starts off very aloof but gradually comes around. At the same time, some of his softening scenes are among the movie's best. Note too, how the African-American maid Fidelia (Mc Daniel) is included in the Hilton family even though she no longer works as their maid. The overall message here is a strong one, reflecting in idealized fashion the temper of the stressed-out time.
I guess my main reservation is with Joe Cotten's role (Tony). He seems to exist only to provide a romantic complication for Anne (Colbert), while her husband is missing overseas. Then again, maybe Tony's meant to illustrate the temptations that exist when loved ones are parted, a common concern of the day. I guess I would have preferred an ending not quite so pat. But that would have brought down the spirit of wartime audiences already worried enough.
Anyway, Selznick has managed to handle a tricky subject with just enough taste and charm to make the 3-hours a pleasant, if highly idealized, experience.
Claudette Colbert makes a very good showing of herself in this tear-jerking (and highly idealized) story of life on the home front in the darkest days of World War II. To appreciate this film one should acknowledge its propagandistic nature and its comparatively unenlightened look at race and gender. Getting past the none-too subtle reminders to avoid hoarding, buy war stamps, volunteer in veterans' hospitals, and go to work in the defense industry, one can enjoy fine performances on everyone's part; this includes but isn't limited to the superb work of Joseph Cotton, Jennifer Jones, Shirley Temple, Monty Woolley, Robert Walker and Agnes Moorehead. Deservedly special mention as always to Hattie McDaniel. Go ahead, have a good cry.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this first on television long after the war had ended so that theoretically it had lost its relevance and sense of immediacy, nevertheless I was moved to tears several times even though I realized I (i.e. the audience) was being manipulated. I found it boasted some outstanding ensemble acting in which - in something of a contradiction i n terms - several performances could be singled out as momentous; if these were led by Claudette Colbert it is fitting as she is the very core of the film but she has first rate support from Joseph Cotton, Hattie MacDaniel, Monty Woolly and Agnes Moorhead who really nails the bitch totally lacking in self-awareness. Special mention too for the real-life husband and wife Robert Walker and Jennifer Jones who manage to convince us they are falling in love even as producer, screenwriter David O'Selznick was destroying their marriage off-screen. Even on a second viewing a good twenty years after the first I was still moved to tears in spots.
It's World War 11 at the home front.
Claudette Colbert's husband is missing in action. The picture is interesting in the fact that we never see the husband but we do view the trials and tribulations of his family at home.
The supporting cast joins Miss Colbert in creating great performances. Colbert was nominated for best actress and Monty Woolley and Jennifer Jones received supporting nominations. The latter had won the best actress Oscar the year before for "The Song of Bernadette." This was the first time that a best actress winner was nominated in the supporting category.
Agnes Moorehead is no slouch either. The veteran thespian shows her grit in a brief but memorable role as an unpatriotic friend of the family. Joseph Cotten, in uniform, as a faithful family friend, provided great emotional support as well.
We also have a grown up Shirley Temple as a courageous daughter.
As Fidelia, the maid, Hattie McDaniel showed perseverance and determination. She is basically a subdued Mammie in 1944 clothing.
That ending scene will cling to your hearts. A triumph of the American spirit in every way.
I watch this movie every time it comes on. And I cry like a baby, just as I did the first time I saw it. Now that I am older, I cringe a bit at the way Hattie McDaniel's character is depicted, but I understand the time in which it was made. One of my favorite scenes is when she so easily guesses Colonel Smollett's charade that had everyone else puzzled. Another great scene is when Claudette Colbert finally tells off Agnes Moorhead. This movie is so good, that although we never see Tony Hilton, we feel as if we know him well because of Ann and the girls. They don't make movies like this anymore, which is why I don't go anymore.
If only the producer could had waited until the 21st century to release
this film. Since You Went Away is a tale of WWII. A Middle Class family
in Rural America dealing with the War. The family is very nice three
daughters and a loving wife. The town old fashion in its family values.
Everyone goes to church. Everyone knows each other. And to the reward
of the family. The friends are very caring.
Claudette Corbert is a gem in this picture. She sets the stage for family values. She's strong and very determined to protect her family. From the outside pressures of the war and the strain of life. Excellent performance.
Jennifer Jones is a wholesome very mature teenager in the film. Her acting is weak but its shines in many moments in the film.
Shirley Temple grows up in this film proving that a child can grow up to become an actress.
In all this picture is a great moving Picture.
A soap opera, sure, but a really great soap opera. Claudette Colbert is tremendous as an American "Mrs. Miniver," and Jennifer Jones is equally strong in the Teresa Wright role. It's a long movie, and very dated. It's tough to imagine a modern audience understanding the horrified reaction when the immigrant woman tells Colbert that her daughter is a nurse on Corregidor. In fact, it's tough to imagine modern-day audiences enjoying this movie much. There's almost no action -- certainly no car chases -- it's entirely a character study about how people held up in a time when so much of what you needed to know was what you couldn't know. World War II America was an amazing place. I am thrilled that this movie is coming out on DVD in October.
Is it predictable? Yes. Is it sentimental? Yes. Is it propaganda? It's 1943, of course it is. But, the simple fact remains, no other film from this era captures the American homefront in all of its Norman Rockwell simplicity as this film. The acting is perfectly on par for the time.with exceptional performances from Joseph Cotten, Monty Wooley, Jennifer Jones and Agnes Moorhead. Colbert is terrific, McDaniel is as moving as the times will let her be; what else can I say? Watch this movie. Rent it. Buy it. Particularly poignant around the hol
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