Since You Went Away

Since You Went Away

4.6 5
Director: John Cromwell

Cast: Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten

     
 

David O. Selznick's epic wartime soap opera drama Since You Went Away (1944), directed by John Cromwell, was promised on laserdisc in the late '80s and was then canceled. And early in the DVD era of the late '90s, it was promised from Anchor Bay entertainment -- and was again canceled. So it was a pleasant surprise when MGM/UA, which acquired the SelznickSee more details below

Overview

David O. Selznick's epic wartime soap opera drama Since You Went Away (1944), directed by John Cromwell, was promised on laserdisc in the late '80s and was then canceled. And early in the DVD era of the late '90s, it was promised from Anchor Bay entertainment -- and was again canceled. So it was a pleasant surprise when MGM/UA, which acquired the Selznick library in 2003, promised us Since You Went Away and actually delivered it in October 2004, just in time for its 60th anniversary. The 177-minute movie is well mastered here in a rich, full-screen (1.33:1) image that looks slightly better than the best television showings that the movie received in the '60s and '70s (it was a holiday favorite for decades on TV, not only because its subject matter was endearing to audiences who remembered the war, but its nearly three-hour running time [not counting commercials] made it beloved to television station programmers who could cover a whole afternoon's airtime by scheduling it). It was also a favorite of Jennifer Jones fans. Jones was allowed to achieve womanhood in this film, and her first appearance onscreen, just seconds short of ten minutes into the movie, is the visual embodiment of spirited girlhood on the edge of marriageability. On the big screen, it was enough to stop the hearts (for one beat) of any male under the age of 85, and it's pretty impressive here, too, even if it is reduced in size and scope. And the glittering black-and-white image generally looks as good as any movie of its vintage issued to date on DVD. The 177-minute movie has been given a paltry 16 chapters, but otherwise is pretty well treated with optional English, French, and Spanish subtitles. The volume level is pitched just right with excellent fidelity, and the movie even includes the full five-minute overture, which had disappeared from theatrical showings and was never used in television presentations. The disc opens automatically to a simple, easy-to-use menu offering "play," "chapter selection," and "Subtitle" options.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
During World War II, Hollywood regularly offered home-front audiences big, heaping gobs of escapist entertainment, but from time to time the major studios presented films that recognized the enormous sacrifices being made by American families. This glorified tear-jerker from 1944 is arguably the best of its kind: Smoothly directed (by John Cromwell) and sensitively acted by a great ensemble cast, Since You Went Away tackles the issue with a minimum of sugar-coating. And while it may seem quaint to some viewers today, most will be moved by the honest, direct treatment afforded this subject. Claudette Colbert, at that time only a few years removed from the glamour-girl parts she performed so well, is profoundly affecting as the stoic mother of two teenage daughters (newly minted star Jennifer Jones and former child superstar Shirley Temple) coping with the absence of the family patriarch, an Army captain fighting overseas. Famed producer David O. Selznick adapted the script himself from Margaret Buell Wilder’s novel, imposing upon the narrative an episodic structure that allows for engrossing subplots and close-up character studies. Both Colbert and Jones earned Oscar nominations for their performances, but the other cast members -- including Joseph Cotten, Monty Woolley, Hattie McDaniel, and Lionel Barrymore -- are terrific as well. The wartime ambience, which until just recently might have seemed a bit too quaint for 21st-century tastes, is remarkably well sustained. There’s no denying that Since You Went Away is dated; yet, anyone whose life has been touched by the ravages of war will find it painfully relevant.
All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Although much of Since You Went Away could be considered soap opera, with moments definitely designed to manipulatively tug at the heartstrings, it's such an engrossing and affecting film that most viewers will forgive it for being calculating. What's surprising is how much power the film still packs, even its most famous (and much parodied) scene in which Jennifer Jones runs after the train carrying her boyfriend away, repeating "I love you, darling" over and over until the train is out of sight. Perhaps because the wartime message hit home with those involved, director John Cromwell and the cast really seem to believe in every moment of the script, even when the dialogue or situation seem somewhat clichéd. Cromwell has done an excellent job of capturing the flavor of the period (not always easy to do when the period a director is trying to capture is the same one in which he is living), as well as making the project seem warm and comforting, even at its most dramatic. He is blessed with a solid cast, especially leading lady Claudette Colbert, who anchors the film with her assured performance. Monty Woolley, Agnes Moorehead, Joseph Cotton and Hattie McDaniel turn in the expected good performances, and Jennifer Jones is surprisingly good, not only in her several "big" scenes but in her quieter moments as well. While it's overlong and suffers a bit from its propagandistic purposes, Since You Went Away still offers a great many rewards.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/19/2004
UPC:
0027616912022
Original Release:
1944
Rating:
NR
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
1
Time:
2:57:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Claudette Colbert Anne Hilton
Jennifer Jones Jane Hilton
Joseph Cotten Lt. Tony Willett
Shirley Temple Bridget "Brig" Hilton
Monty Woolley Col. Smollett
Agnes Moorehead Emily Hawkins
Robert Walker Cpl. William G. Smollett II
Lionel Barrymore The Clergyman
Hattie McDaniel Fidelia
Jane Devlin Gladys Brown
Gordon Oliver Marine officer
Lloyd Corrigan Mr. Mahoney
Robert Anderson Actor
Irving Bacon Bartender
Aileen Pringle Actor
Charles Williams Actor
Wallis Clark Actor
Leo Mostovoy Actor
James Carlisle Actor
George Chandler Cabbie
Ann Gillis Becky Anderson
Grady Sutton Actor
Ruth Valmy Actor
Jackie Moran Johnny Mahoney
Buddy Gorman Actor
Andrew V. McLaglen Former Plowboy
Addison Richards Maj. Sam Atkins
George Lloyd Actor
Barbara Pepper Pin girl
Guy Madison Harold Smith
Jill Warren Waitress
Byron Foulger Principal
Harry Hayden Conductor
Edwin Maxwell Businessman
Russell Hoyt Actor
Florence Bates Dowager
Conrad Binyon Actor
Theodore Von Eltz Desk clerk
Adeline Reynolds Elderly woman
Robert Cherry Actor
Kirk Barron Actor
Jack Gardner Actor
Doodles Weaver Convalescent
Dorothy Adams Actor
James Westerfield Actor
Warren Hymer Patient at Finger Ladder
Ralph Reed Actor
Peggy Maley Actor
Rob Johnson Black Officer
Shelby Bacon Actor
Eddie Hall Salior On Phone In Train Station
Eilene Janssen Little girl
Harlan Miller Actor
Neyle Marx Actor
Johnny Bond AWOL
Ruth Roman Bit Part
Steve Wayne Actor
Marilyn Hare Actor
Jonathan Hale Conductor
Walter S. Baldwin Actor
Eric Sinclair Actor
Craig Stevens Danny Williams
Albert Basserman Dr. Sigmund Gottlieb Golden
Jimmy Clemons Boy Caroler
Keenan Wynn Lt. Solomon
Rhonda Fleming Bit Part
Lela Bliss Actor
Tom Dawson Actor
Jimmie Dodd Actor
Dorothy Dandridge Black Officer's Wife
William B. Davidson Taxpayer
Alla Nazimova Woman Welder
Janelle Johnson Dolenz Uncredited
Terry Moore Refugee child
John Derek Actor
Neil Hamilton Tim Hilton - photograph
Dorothy Garner Sugar

Technical Credits
John Cromwell Director
Stanley Cortez Cinematographer
Jack Cosgrove Cinematographer,Special Effects
Don de Faure Editor
Elmer Ellsworth Costumes/Costume Designer
Lowell J. Farrell Asst. Director
Arthur Fellows Editor
Louis Forbes Score Composer
Navy Capt. Charles L. Freeman Sound/Sound Designer
Victor A. Gangelin Set Decoration/Design
Lee Garmes Cinematographer
Wayland M. Hendrys Editor
Hal Kern Editor
Mark-Lee Kirk Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
James Newcom Editor
William L. Pereira Production Designer
David O. Selznick Producer,Screenwriter
Clarence Silver Cinematographer
Clarence Slifer Special Effects
Max Steiner Score Composer
Robert Stephanoff Makeup
Charles Walters Choreography

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Overture/Main Title [10:43]
2. Downsized [11:08]
3. The Best Room [11:59]
4. Uncle Tony [10:19]
5. "A Great Big Prom" [9:55]
6. Together [11:49]
7. Going Away Present [11:29]
8. A Real Date [10:24]
9. Other People's Business [10:53]
10. MIA/Entr'acte [12:12]
11. Message of Comfort [1:26]
12. A Wonderful Afternoon [8:41]
13. A Soldier's Death [10:58]
14. Happy Birthday [10:59]
15. A Good Telling Off [10:30]
16. The Best Christmas [3:13]

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