Since You Went Away (1944)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Family Drama, War Drama  |   Release Date - Jul 20, 1944 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 177 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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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 clich├ęd. 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.