Since You Went Away
(1944) This movie is a David O. Selznick (“Gone with the Wind” etc. etc.) production. In an upperclass family, the father goes off to war. His wife (Claudette Colbert) and two daughters (Jennifer Jones and Shirley Temple) are left behind to cope.
I am sure this sentimental movie attracted plenty of viewers at the time. Viewers who were really suffering through the war but were curious to see how the other half was living through it.
Oh, I thought we were all going to try out those hairdos from Vogue tonight. (Claudette Colbert to her daughters …)
At first it reminded me of 1942″s English “Mrs. Miniver.” Not for long, though … it just doesn’t compare. It was way too long (nearly three hours.) There was an overture and an intermission.
Halfway through (let’s say, during the intermission) I started to read online what was going on behind the scenes, and that was more interesting than the movie. Jennifer Jones was married to the young man she falls in love with, Robert Walker. Except their marriage was on the rocks because she was having an affair with David O. Selznick, the producer. By the time the movie was over, Jennifer and Robert were divorcing. No kidding.
Robert Walker was cast as a shy awkward country boy who had been expelled from West Point. During the filming, he knew Jennifer was having an affair with the producer who I am sure was anything but shy and awkward. Walker never got over losing his wife and was dead by the age of thirty-two.