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"Where Have You Been?"
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 04/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like the scent of perfume a girl from our youth wore, so this film is etched in the hearts of all who have seen it, only to be recalled with fondness when something small, like that special feminine fragrance, touches our senses and brings back memories. Until now, this is all we had. Fortunately, and at last, we can visit this wonderful film with Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotton anytime we want, as after decades of waiting, it is now available to us.
Based on a radio play by Charles Martin, this sweet and sentimental story very much has that involving feel many of the classy productions brought to the airwaves by Lux Radio Theatre had. It benefits greatly from the direction of William Dieterle, who allows the simple story to unfold in a natural way, with a minimalist approach. Both Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotton underplay their roles, giving a premise which might have been a bit saccharine in other hands, a very real and moving feel.
One of the great songs made popular during WWII is used to good effect, as it sets the mood for a film about love during wartime. Both Mary (Ginger) and Zachery (Cotton) are shell-shocked as this film opens; he literally so, from war wounds and the psycological aftereffects, and she from a tragedy which left her in prison. He is on a furlough from the hospital to help regain his confidence and aid his recovery, and she is given a short leave back home during the holidays for good behavior, after which both must return.
They meet on the train and when Mary gets off in Pine Hill, Zachery, who really has no place else to go, makes up a story so he can get off there and see her again. She can tell he is slightly lost in the real world, and so is she. It is obvious how much has changed since her time in prison when she tries to purchase a chocolate almond bar and gum in the train station. But it is wartime and she can not explain to the clerk where she has been, nor can she tell Zachery, who must believe in her and have hope so he can recover fully.
As Mary adjusts to the outside and she begins to care for Zachery, she tries not to dream, as she knows dreams are impossible in her position. Spring Byington, Tom Tully, and a teenage Shirley Temple are all very good as Mary's only remaining family. Barbara (Temple) is a typical young girl with growing pains. Her reservations about Mary slowly fall away as they become closer, crushed completely when the reason for Mary's incarceration is brought out into the open.
The feelings of Mary and Zach grow as they do small town things through the Christmas season, and by the New Year's dance at the Y.M.C.A. they are in love. But a shadow is cast on their momentary happiness as little reminders of their past begin to creep in. For Zach it is a flashback, and for Mary it is a corsiage, a reminder of a time when she was twenty and lonely, and tragedy followed. She wants to tell Zach but can't, as he is scared and needs belief so he can get well.
This film will certainly touch your heart in a very special way as the parting of these two lost souls who have found each other quickly approaches and we long for their happiness. You must see this film to discover their fate. It is something you will always remember. First time viewers of this film need patience. It does not grab you like most films, but rather begins as a simple caress, which grows into a full embrace by the film's conclusion. If you are sentimental or romantic in the least, you must own this wonderful film."
Ginger Rogers Excels In Romantic Wartime Christmas Story
Simon Davis | 04/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""I'll Be Seeing You", is a wonderful companion piece to that other moving wartime story produced by David O. Selznick in 1944, "Since You Went Away", and it provided Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotton with one of their best vehicles during the mid 1940's. Dismissed nowadays as a sugar coated romance that piles on the sentiment I dont see that as a failing at all and instead it provides a touching human story about two injured individuals finding love at an unexpected time in their lives when things are not going well. Selznick of course will be forever remembered and revered for producing grandiose stories such as "Gone With The Wind", however his abilities with smaller scale human dramas about seemingly ordinary people in ordinary situations have I feel never been given enough recognition. "I'll Be Seeing You", which was based on Charles Martin's radio play "Double Furlough", truly proves my point that his way of approaching smaller scale story telling was just as memorable. Here Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotton play two very average and identifiable people, one a victim of the world war currently engulfing the world, and the second an unfortunate victim of one action that had serious consequences, situations any individual could find themselves in. What a joy it was to discover that this beautiful little film has finally been made available via DVD after being so hard to track down for so long.
Set during World War Two "I'll Be Seeing You", has Ginger Rogers as Mary Marshall a lonely woman who is half way through a prison sentence for a charge of accidental manslaughter who because of her good behaviour is given an eight day leave pass over the Christmas period. Travelling to visit her relations on the train she meets Zachary Morgan (Joseph Cotton), and the two strike up a friendship. Zachary has only recently been released from the hospitial as he has been suffering from shell shock and war injuries and the plan is to see if he can speed his recovery by getting out into the world. He implusively follows Mary to her stop and pretends that he is visiting his sister in the same town of Pine Hill. Mary arranges for Zachary to visit her at the home of her aunt and uncle (Tom Tully and Spring Byington), and the pair spend much time together and very quickly fall in love. Romance develops for the two as they spend Christmas Day together and then both attend the YMCA dance on New Years Eve. Both however have the dilemma of having to tell the other of their problems and with Mary having to report back to prison at the end of the holidays time begins to run out. One their last day in Pine Hill Mary's younger cousin Barbara (Shirley Temple), unintentionally discloses to Zachary about Mary's real situation and in his initial shock and anger he tries to get away from Mary as quickly as possible. He boards the train without really saying goodbye to her and Mary faces the lonely prospect of life back in prison with no one waiting for her. Bidding her family a sad goodbye Mary prepares to continue with her sentence but just as she arrives at the prison gates fate takes a pleasant turn for her for once when she is greeted by a remorseful Zachary who reaffirms his deep love for her. Zachary states firmly that he truly loves her and that whatever it takes they will be together and that he will wait until she is released from prison so that they can be married.
A touching love story set at Christmas is of course a natural for romantic movie lovers however this effort is much more than just that. Fine story telling combines here with well thought out performances by the cast to create a story that leaves you with something to think about in regard to our needs as individuals. Ginger Rogers especially as the woman out on Christmas leave from prison proves once and for all what a fine dramatic actress she truly was among all her other screen talents. She also has a believable and at times quite poignant screen chemistry with Joseph Cotton as the mentally scarred Sargeant just out of hospital that makes us care about these two essentially lonely and hurt individuals. Long wanting to be recognised for more than just being Fred Astaire's dance partner, here Rogers proves that with a well thought out and modulated performance that shows beautifully all her characters insecurities and fears when she finds herself falling in love with Cotton's character. Joseph Cotton, a Selznick contractee delivers another interesting performance here and makes his Zachary Morgan a very human individual fighting a terrible affliction and then having to learn to deal with his unexpected love for Mary. Supporting performances are first rate all around. A teenage Shirley Temple fresh from her triumph in Selznick's classic "Since You Went Away", delivers another fine performance here full of teenage spunk and vivacity and I always think it a tragedy that her later teenage roles for the most part never matched the quality of her work in productions like 'Since You Went Away", and "I'll Be Seeing You". Spring Byington who had already worked with Ginger Rogers in the delightful comedy romance "Lucky Partners", in 1940 again combines well with her here as her Aunt and despite the two having very different acting styles and screen personas they have a wonderfully relaxed rapport on screen together. "I'll Be Seeing You", had the usual meticulous attention to detail recreating in the studio exactly what was still happening in the world at that time (1944-45). Like in all war times there is always humour in among the sorrow and this production provides just that, for example in the dress shop scene,and at the YMCA New Years Eve Ball, and these are randomly situated between the more serious goings on throughout the film's running time. Of course the drama here is what makes "I'll Be Seeing You", such a standout and is vividly represented in scenes such as Mary's terrible recollection to Barbara of the incident that put her in jail, through to Zachary's ongoing efforts to curb his mental sufferings resulting from his active duties. Director William Dieterle keeps the pace of the story moving and we see a growing inner confidence developing in both Mary and Zachary that sees them overcome their fears and lack of trust in others to follow their hearts in their feelings for each other.
Tender romances about ordinary people who are not perfect are seldom seen nowadays but the strength of "I'll Be Seeing You", rests in its ability to make two such ordinary people infinitely interesting and people who we care about. I've always enjoyed the great talents of both Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotton and the two make most believable lovers here. The charming Christmas setting taking place during the dark war years is guarenteed to tug at the heart strings of any romantic movie lover and it never fails to move me with its simple message of love and respect for others no matter what their affliction or failings are. Take a romantic journey back soon to a simple war time Hollywood love story to see how effectively it could be portrayed on screen in Selznick Productions, "I'll Be Seeing You" ."
A love story undiminished by time
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 01/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An immortal wartime romance with Ginger Rogers and Joseph Cotten, I'LL BE SEEING YOU remains one of the most beloved films of the era. Rogers plays Mary Marshall, a female ex-con on parole, who meets by chance the handsome yet severely shell-shocked soldier Zachary Morgan (Cotten). Their romance plays out against the odds; two damaged people who find comfort and understanding in each other.
Based on the radio play "Double Furlough" by Charles Martin, the screenplay by Marion Parsonnet amiably showcases Rogers and Cotten in some of their most vivid and unguarded work. With Shirley Temple, Spring Byington (who had previously co-starred in 1940's "The Blue Bird"), Chill Wills and Tom Tully."