review for I'll Be Seeing You on AllMovie

I'll Be Seeing You (1944)
by Craig Butler review

Some may find I'll Be Seeing You a bit overly sentimental, but it's a melodrama that's pretty darned hard to resist. Admittedly, it's manipulative and is designed to shamelessly tug at those heartstrings, but it's also undeniably effective. It also isn't without restraint; it would have been easy to go much further in the search to wring out tears and to fall into excesses that would have ruined it. Instead, Seeing's director William Dieterle (with an assist from George Cukor) lets things go just so far and no further, pulling back before it topples over the brink. Dieterle is helped enormously by his stars. Ginger Rogers is at first glance rather odd casting. Rogers generally played women who speak their minds and keep nothing back; yet here she is playing a woman with a secret that she doesn't want to share with a man with whom she is falling in love. Yet Rogers is an inspired choice, for the audience can feel how hard it is for her to keep things back, making the character's plight all the more believable. As the object of her growing affection, Joseph Cotten gives a wonderfully modulated performance that finds mountains of meaning in mere gestures. Cotten was always expert at creating an inner life for his characters, and he adds layers here that are especially effective. He also delivers his big set piece "war memory" sequence beautifully. An adolescent Shirley Temple provides lively comic relief and Spring Byington is her usual warm and lovable self. I'll Be Seeing You may be a bit too much for those who insist on total realism, but others will be drawn in by its considerable charms -- and its power.