Since You Went Away...

Discussion of programming on TCM.

Moderators: Sue Sue Applegate, movieman1957, moira finnie, Lzcutter

Hollis
Posts: 695
Joined: April 15th, 2007, 4:38 pm

Since You Went Away...

Post by Hollis »

Hello friends,

One of my very favorite films, "Since You Went Away" is airing this afternoon at 3:45 cst (4:45 est.) If you've never seen it or have yet to see it in its' entirety, I urge you to make room in your schedule to watch it today or at the very least, record it for future viewing. Two of Orson Welles' old friends from the Mercury Radio Theatre have prominent if not starring roles in the film. Joseph Cotten and Agnes Moorehead are both superb in their ability to make their characters believable and make you forget that they're acting, which in my opinion is the highest compliment one can pay to an actor or actress. Add to the mix Claudette Colbert, Janet Jones, Robert Walker, Shirley Temple, Hattie McDaniels and Monte Wooley (forgive me if I've misspelled his name) and you have the makings of a four star film. In its' own way, it's the American version of Mrs. Miniver, showing the effects of WWII on those left behind to maintain the home front while their loved ones were overseas. The running time according to "Now Playing" is 177 mins with an intermission at roughly the 2/3 point if memory serves me correctly. I'd like to ask a personal favor from someone among the group if I might. For some unknown reason, my DVD player/recorder is not functioning properly and I don't currently have the ability to play or record DVD's. If one of my friends out there has the ability to record the movie for me, I'll gladly pay for the cost of recording the film and whatever it costs to send me the DVD's. If in fact someone can accommodate me I'd be more than grateful. Reply to this post or send me an e-mail at "[email protected]" and I'll furnish you with my mailing address. I can either send you a prepaid, self addressed envelope or you can send me the DVD's and I can then reimburse you for your time and materials. By the way, this was one of producer David O. Selznick's pet projects as I understand it and he spared no expense in assembling a fine cast and staging a beautiful production. I think you'll find it every bit as entertaining as I do. If your parents or grandparents were involved in the war effort as mine were, it might help to provide a little insight into what the times were like and why we now refer to Americans of that era as "The Finest Generation." Thanks for allowing me the time and space to post this.

As always,

Hollis
User avatar
moira finnie
Administrator
Posts: 8176
Joined: April 9th, 2007, 6:34 pm
Location: Earth
Contact:

Since You Went Away

Post by moira finnie »

Hi Hollis,
I watched Since You Went Away last time it was broadcast and was deeply touched by this beautifully made 60+ year old story all over again--especially since it reflects some very similar 2007 experiences for military families all over again. I find that having a dvd of an exceptionally long film might be a good idea since it does cut substantially into one's day to watch it in its entirety in one sitting. Besides, it's kind of nice to savor this film slowly on a rainy day.

I wish that I had a dvd to offer you for trade, but I think that you might have some possible luck if you post your request in The Marketplace section of this site, located in the Film-Related area. For convenience sake, I'll post a link to that area below. Take care, Mr. H.:
http://plasticage.net/refugees/viewforum.php?f=16
User avatar
Sue Sue Applegate
Administrator
Posts: 3323
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 8:47 pm
Location: Texas

Re:

Post by Sue Sue Applegate »

Enjoyed this film immensely...One of our former students at the high school where I work was killed in IRAQ. His sister teaches at another school in the district and our whole community was affected by his death. I fee the "Greatest Generation" left us a great legacy, but I am not happy watching all these young people die.
And this movie revives all our struggles and feelings about the families left behind....
Blog: http://suesueapplegate.wordpress.com/
Twitter:@suesueapplegate
TCM Message Boards: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/ ... ue-sue-ii/
Sue Sue : https://www.facebook.com/groups/611323215621862/
Thelma Ritter: Hollywood's Favorite New Yorker, University Press of Mississippi-2020
Avatar: Ginger Rogers, The Major and The Minor
User avatar
mrsl
Posts: 4220
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 5:20 pm
Location: Chicago SW suburbs

Post by mrsl »

Two other movies come to mind that deal with this subject. 1. Mrs. Miniver, and 2. Until They Sail. All three films portray the conditions of the people left on the home front. One in America, one in England, and finally in New Zealand. And such diverse points of view from all of them. Between the three movies we have how families deal with the restrictions and sacrifices made, but more so, how individuals deal with them. A teenager growing a victory garden, organizing paper drives, rolling bandages, etc. and still not feeling she's done enough. An older sister, who, although definitely not a selfish girl by any means, is entirely wrapped up in her own personal feelings. A woman who falls in love, marries, and is left pregnant and unsure what to do or how to survive. Another who goes wild with all the military men available. Finally two mothers whose only thoughts are how to keep the family together until it's all over.

All three are marvelous movies and give very true accounts of life on the homefront.

Isn't it odd that this is one time where movie life is not following real life? How many sacrifices are we asked to make? We have had no blackouts. No rationing of meat and cheese, no rationing of any material necessary for military use. I find it strange that in 2003 every house had a flag flying from it's front door, but very few remain today. Gas is still plentiful, as long as you're willing to pay for it. I don't mean to soapbox really, but these thoughts occurred to me today while watching. I would sincerely appreciate answers or comments.

Anne
User avatar
Moraldo Rubini
Posts: 1107
Joined: April 19th, 2007, 11:37 am
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Post by Moraldo Rubini »

Hollis said:
If one of my friends out there has the ability to record the movie for me, I'll gladly pay for the cost of recording the film and whatever it costs to send me the DVD's. If in fact someone can accommodate me I'd be more than grateful.

If no one can aid you with the request, I'd be happy to run down the street and purchase a copy for you. There's a huge DVD emporium just a couple of blocks from my house and Since You Went Away is sure to be there. Let me know if that would help. The DVD was released by MGM, but unfortunately includes no extras. Nevertheless, it was one of the few DVDs that I bought in spite of its lacking supplemental material.

I also love this movie. I inadvertently came upon Since You Went Away when it played on television in the late 1970's. When I got to school the next day, a lot of students were talking about it. In the 1980's I obsessively searched for Max Steiner's excellent Oscar-winning soundtrack, finding excerpts on cd, and a 2-lp set released by the Max Steiner Foundation.

I've never grown tired of watching Claudette Colbert's Anne Hilton. And I especially enjoy her relationship with Joseph Cotten's flirtatious Tony Willett. Another favorite duo from the film is Colonel Smollett and Soda: two curmudgeons who grow to appreciate and love one another.

But perhaps the most fascinating couple is Jennifer Jones and Robert Walker. The two were undergoing their painful divorce during the shooting of this movie. She went on to marry the movie's producer, David O. Selznick; despondent, he began a relationship with the bottle -- with tragic results. I wrote about Since You Went Away's train scene on the TCM board:

...I can't help feeling that the wrenching despair in Walker's expression as the train tears their relationship apart is a reflection of what's happening off set. It's about loss of innocence and confronting the brutality of real life.

Ronald Haver's splendid book David O. Selznick's Hollywood states that Jennifer Jones "was extremely uncomfortable playing the very poignant love scenes with her about-to-be-ex-husband, and on two occasions her emotional upsets caused her to flee the set in tears. Selznick had to come to her dressing room and calm her down before she could continue." It might be apocryphal, but I've read that their divorce became final the day they shot the uber-romantic haystack scene. It's fascinating to me that though the characters' bonding certainly seems deep, the angst of their parallel real lives is not evident on the screen. I wonder if Ms. Jones experienced a catharsis in playing the latter greiving scenes, as both real and reel life relations had sadly terminated.

Mrs.L, when we first bombed Iraq that day in February a few years ago, I sought DVDs of Mrs. Miniver and Since You Went Away. As it turned out, neither were then available, and I hungered to see film treatments of "the war at home". I wasn't familiar with Until They Sail, so will add that to my list. Thank you for mentioning it.
User avatar
Sue Sue Applegate
Administrator
Posts: 3323
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 8:47 pm
Location: Texas

Until They Sail

Post by Sue Sue Applegate »

I loved Until They Sail so much. It's been ages since I've seen it, but I highly recommend it.
Blog: http://suesueapplegate.wordpress.com/
Twitter:@suesueapplegate
TCM Message Boards: http://forums.tcm.com/index.php?/topic/ ... ue-sue-ii/
Sue Sue : https://www.facebook.com/groups/611323215621862/
Thelma Ritter: Hollywood's Favorite New Yorker, University Press of Mississippi-2020
Avatar: Ginger Rogers, The Major and The Minor
User avatar
mrsl
Posts: 4220
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 5:20 pm
Location: Chicago SW suburbs

Post by mrsl »

Acting for actings' sake is one thing, but I cannot imagine playing a love scene with the man you are getting a divorce from! Being in the same city with my estranged husband was bad enough, the thought of a love scene with him is enough to make me run and scream like a mad woman!

Anne
User avatar
Shonna
Posts: 44
Joined: April 23rd, 2007, 11:50 am
Location: California

Post by Shonna »

You make me laugh Anne, I feel the same way about my Ex! When it's over it's over!
BillieBurkeFan1985
Posts: 5
Joined: April 19th, 2007, 8:14 pm
Location: Indiana

Post by BillieBurkeFan1985 »

Since You Went Away is one of the movies that got me stuck on watching black n' white films! I love it! I cry everytime Claudette Colbert sits by the tree and opens the music box!

Sid
"Are You A Good Witch Or A Bad Witch?"
-Billie Burke-
User avatar
Shonna
Posts: 44
Joined: April 23rd, 2007, 11:50 am
Location: California

Post by Shonna »

Very interesting story, Moraldo!
I too, enjoyed the flirtation between Joseph Cotten and Claudette Colbert. There were moments when I kept thinking, "Just kiss him ONCE", but of course Mrs. Hilton (and rightfully so) was too virtuous to go through with it. I had never seen the picture in its entirety until 2 days ago and I enjoyed it so!
User avatar
moira finnie
Administrator
Posts: 8176
Joined: April 9th, 2007, 6:34 pm
Location: Earth
Contact:

Welcome, BillieBurkefan1985

Post by moira finnie »

Since You Went Away is one of the movies that got me stuck on watching black n' white films! I love it! I cry everytime Claudette Colbert sits by the tree and opens the music box!

Sid


Hi Sid,
Thanks for joining in the discussion on our forum. I think that you'll enjoy the camraderie. I'm really glad that you'e here. In reference to Since You Went Away, while I agree, the scene next to the Christmas tree, with the improvised Australian wrapping on the music box and other presents is a heartbreaker, the one scene that always gets me during viewings is a small one, centering on a minor character.

It takes place in the movie theatre as the military-oriented newsreel comes on when Mr. Mahoney the grocer (Lloyd Corrigan), has to leave the darkened hall. The camera lingers on the actor as he apologizes for asking people to move so that he can get out of his row. As he moves up the aisle, we see his face in half light, illuminated partially by the propaganda film blaring in the background. Mahoney struggles to control his emotions, thinking, as we all know, of course, about his dead son and dead dreams for his future.

Not a word is said directly during this sequence about what occurs, but visually, there's no need. It's a powerful moment, and one that the film's director John Cromwell, producer Selznick, and perhaps most of all, the actor, Lloyd Corrigan should've felt deep pride in creating.
User avatar
Moraldo Rubini
Posts: 1107
Joined: April 19th, 2007, 11:37 am
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Queen Colbert

Post by Moraldo Rubini »

Moira beautifully stated:
It takes place in the movie theatre as the military-oriented newsreel comes on when Mr. Mahoney the grocer (Lloyd Corrigan), has to leave the darkened hall. The camera lingers on the actor as he apologizes for asking people to move so that he can get out of his row. As he moves up the aisle, we see his face in half light, illuminated partially by the propaganda film blaring in the background. Mahoney struggles to control his emotions, thinking, as we all know, of course, about his dead son and dead dreams for his future.

Not a word is said directly during this sequence about what occurs, but visually, there's no need. It's a powerful moment, and one that the film's director John Cromwell, producer Selznick, and perhaps most of all, the actor, Lloyd Corrigan should've felt deep pride in creating.

Thank you for reminding us of this poignant -- heartbreaking, really -- scene. I just wanted to add Claudette Colbert's name to the segment, since we see the entire situation through her eyes. Earlier in the film she introduces us to Johnny Mahoney (played by Jackie Moran) at the USO dance. Moran was excellent in the small part. We all take an immediate liking to him. He represents all the boys-next-door and the all-American spirit, going off to war.

Later, when we're in the movie theatre and Mr. Mahoney departs we see the conflicted emotions that this instills in Colbert's Anne Hilton. Her compassion, the sorrow of loss, the fear that Mahoney will never be the same again, the helplessness that there's nothing she can do to lessen his pain; and the uneasy sense that this could just as easily be her, should Mr. Hilton also be lost in war.

It's a tenderly understated scene.
User avatar
mongoII
Posts: 12345
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 7:37 pm
Location: Florida

Post by mongoII »

I for one am very fond of this motion picture, as it represents the homefront during WWII. The performances are outstanding, especially that of Claudette Colbert.
Here is the original review from the New York Times, which is not a rave.

N.Y. TIMES REVIEW
'Since You Went Away,' a Film of Wartime Domestic Life, With Claudette Colbert and Others, Opens at the Capitol
By BOSLEY CROWTHER
Published: July 21, 1944

In his first screen production in four years—his first since "Rebecca" and "Gone With the Wind"—David O Selznick has surrendered again to his hankering for size and has turned out another massive picture in "Since You Went Away." For two hours and fifty-one minutes this new film at the Capitol delves with a warm and gracious sympathy into the heart of what it terms "the American home" and yearns with a mother and her daughters whose best-loved men go dutifully to war. Although it makes several passes at observing surface phases of home-front life, its chief concern is three females and their immediate circle of friends. Its humors are frequent and cheerful; its spirit is hopeful and brave. But it does come off, altogether, as a rather large dose of choking sentiment.

For Mr. Selznick, as writer of the screen play as well as producer of the film, let himself go in an excess of exhausting emotional detail. From a mild little volume of letters which Margaret Buell Wilder wrote—letters supposedly written by a wife to her husband off at war—he has gathered some fragments of story and magnified them into a towering tale of one mid-West family's experiences under the abnormal strains of war. He has hung on the wife's poignant moments of loneliness and despair with abundantly generous compassion which counts every moist and glistening tear. And he has detailed a daughter's pretty courtship by a bashful soldier from first blush to sad farewell.

He has also embellished the story with a wealth of domestic incident and sweetened it well with genial traffic with contiguous friends and pets. There is the charming old pal of the family, now arrayed in a Navy uniform, who bobs up quite often at the fireside to offer the flattering attentions of a male. There is a bumptious retired Army colonel who elaborately comes to lodge, full of abuse and selfish habits, but remains to grow mellow and sweet. And there is the loving old Negro servant who, despite the familiar rule, refuses to leave her "white folks" and stays on at a minimum of pay.

As a typical American family, the one which Mr. Selznick has devised might be seriously questioned, however—except as a radiant ideal. There is a great deal of talk and anxiety about the family's financial plight. (Papa is only a captain and they must presumably subsist on his pay.) Yet their home is an absolute vision of well-decorated luxury. And the wardrobes of mama and the daughters seem inexhaustible.

True, Mr. Selznick has slipped in a scalding reflection here and there on people who trade at black markets, hoard and do other hateful things. He has even created a character—an odiously selfish female—who points up the wretched hypocrisy of a certain aggrandizing type. But he has oddly forgotten to caution the more pleasant characters to set a visible example in the saving of food and drink. At least five times we caught them in flagrant and thoughtless waste. Vaguely, we got the impression that a double-standard prevails.

As the mother and center of the family, Claudette Colbert gives an excellent show of gallantly self-contained emotion, and Jennifer Jones is surpassingly sweet as a well-bred American daughter in the first bloom of womanhood and love. Robert Walker is uncommonly appealing as the young soldier whom she tragically adores, and Shirley Temple, now grown to 'teen-age freshness, is pert as the young sister. Monty Woolley makes a full-blown character of the man who comes to lodge; Joseph Cotten is droll as the Navy playboy, and Hattie McDaniel does an Andy-act quite well. Several score other actors pop up for a line or two, including Lionel Barrymore, who recites the last verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in a church. John Cromwell has directed everyone with his customary finish and style.

No doubt, this would have been a sharper picture if Mr. Selznick had played it in much less time, and it would have been considerably more significant had he kept it somewhat closer to average means. Two hours and fifty-one minutes is a lot of time to harp upon one well-known theme—lonesomeness and anxiety. And that is all this picture really does.


SINCE YOU WENT AWAY, from a screen play by David O Selznick, based on the novel of the same title by Margaret Buell Wilder; directed by John Cromwell, produced by Mr. Selznick and released by United Artists. At the Capitol.

Anne Hilton . . . . . Claudette Colbert
Jane Hilton . . . . . Jennifer Jones
Bridget Hilton . . . . . Shirley Temple
Lieut. Tony Willett . . . . . Joseph Cotten
Corp. Bill Smollett . . . . . Robert Walker
Colonel Smollett . . . . . Monty Woolley
Emily Hawkins . . . . . Agnes Moorehead
Fidelia . . . . . Hattie McDaniel
Mr. Mahoney . . . . . Lloyd Corrigan
Johnny Mahoney . . . . . Jackie Moran
Clergyman . . . . . Lionel Barrymore
Dr. Sigmund Golden . . . . . Albert Basserman
Woman Welder . . . . . Nazimova
Headwaiter . . . . . Leonide Mostovoy
Taxi Driver . . . . . George Chandler
Harold, a sailor . . . . . Guy Madison
Motorcycle Policeman . . . . . George Lloyd
Danny Williams . . . . . Craig Stevens
Lieutenant Solomon . . . . . Keenan Wynn
User avatar
mrsl
Posts: 4220
Joined: April 14th, 2007, 5:20 pm
Location: Chicago SW suburbs

Post by mrsl »

Mongo:

'One who shall remain nameless', used to run this guys' reviews quite often. His disdain for family movies is quite pronounced, and it's a good thing I wasn't around at the time to respond to him, especially after seeing some of the movies he knocked.

He does make a point or two regarding the clothing of the movie characters, however, never in the movie do any of the family go shopping for new duds. There is even a comment about their clothes being quite 'old by now.' As for the house, it was purchased, furnished, and decorated while Dad was still home and bringing in a fairly good paycheck, so scratch that argument. Considering the fact that stories and rumors were already flooding the U.S. about the Jewish situation, why would it be so difficult to imagine a black housemaid, living in the free North to assume she would prefer to stay with the family she had helped raise rather than strangers in a ritzy neighborhood, who probably treated her like a maid, instead of a beloved friend? Remember, this woman most likely had grandparents who had told her about living as slaves, so her lot in life in this particular household, would be heaven to her way of thinking, especially since the absent man of the house included her at Christmastime, just like his own family members.

Every movie has faults and you can pick and pick until you find something to complain about, as this reviewer does, but the basic theme of Since You Went Away is a heartwarming, loving film. Too bad that kind of patriotic feeling doesn't exist today.

Anne
Anne


***********************************************************************
* * * * * * * * What is past is prologue. * * * * * * * *

]***********************************************************************
Post Reply