Now we’ve got something of a holiday classic, the 1944 movie I’ll Be Seeing You starring Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten and Shirley Temple.
Coming Up Shorts! with… Safari So Good (1947)
(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 2 from Warner Archive Collection)
Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.
(Length: 7 minutes)
While on safari, Popeye and Olive run into a Tarzan-like Bluto, who is instantly smitten with Olive. A number of gags involving Bluto and the various jungle animals on his side as he and Popeye are up to their usual hijinks. Some fun to be had here, even if a few gags do get to be a bit predictable (I still had a few good laughs with them, so there is that)!
And Now For The Main Feature…
Mary Marshall (Ginger Rogers) has been in prison for three years, but for good behavior, she’s been given a ten day vacation, which she uses to visit her uncle Henry (Tom Tully) and aunt Sarah Marshall (Spring Byington) in Pinehill. On the train ride there, she meets soldier Zachary Morgan (Joseph Cotten), who has been released from the hospital in an attempt to allow him a chance to readjust after a war wound left him shell-shocked. When he finds out she is going to Pinehill, he decides to get off there as well. He stays at the local YMCA, and tries to see Mary later. He is invited to dinner with the Marshall family, who make him feel welcome. Mary and Zach start spending a lot of time together, as she slowly learns about his troubles. However, she keeps her past a secret, particularly on the advice of her aunt and uncle. On New Year’s Eve, Zach invites everyone to a big party at the YMCA, where he starts to show how much he has improved. However, Mary is worried that he plans to propose, and she tries to avoid the question. But how long can it last?
I’ll Be Seeing You was produced by David O. Selznick as one of his first projects with his then-new Vanguard Films production company. It ended up being one of the early movies trying to start dealing with whatever potential after-effects of WWII, with Joseph Cotten’s Zachary suffering from PTSD and trying to figure out how to fit in. Of course, it is exemplified by us hearing his inner monologue at some moments (particularly as he is the only character we can hear the inner thoughts of). Ginger’s Mary, on the other hand, struggles with her own problems, especially considering her imprisonment is one that would anger many today, in the light of the #me-too movement (I’d say how, but I really shouldn’t spoil too much about this movie). Still, she tries to be selfless, up to a point, as she tries to help Zach once she learns about his problems, even concealing her own from him.
Personally, I enjoy this movie as a fun holiday film. Since it is obviously set during the holidays, from right before Christmas to just after New Year’s, it works quite well for two holidays. It is comforting to watch how welcoming the Marshall family is to both Mary and Zach, as they make sure they have Christmas gifts for both of them (even though they know Mary will be going back to prison shortly). Plus, we get them all casually singing “O Come All Ye Faithful” together, giving it a real Christmas feeling. And then with New Year’s, from the party they go to as they prepare to celebrate the new year, we see how both of them, whose dreams had been shattered by the traumas they faced, now start to have a chance at reclaiming those dreams. A new year, indeed.
Overall, I just can’t begin to say how much I enjoy this movie. From the holiday spirit to the performances of both the leads, I can’t help but enjoy watching this movie every now and again. Sure, Shirley Temple, who plays Mary’s cousin Barbara struggles a little in her last scene, but it’s not bad enough to turn me off the movie. Overall, I would easily recommend this film, either for holiday viewing, or any time of the year!
This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Kino Lorber.
Film Length: 1 hour, 25 minutes
My Rating: 10/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Once Upon A Honeymoon (1942) – Ginger Rogers – Magnificent Doll (1946)
Since You Went Away (1944) – Joseph Cotten – The Killer Is Loose (1956)
Since You Went Away (1944) – Shirley Temple
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