Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'll Be Seeing You (1944) A Holiday Romance

I'll Be Seeing You (1944) / Selznick International Pictures
Directed By: William Dieterle
Starring: Ginger Rogers, Joesph Cotten, Shirley Temple

Costumes: Edith Head (for Miss Rogers)

Taglines: Both living a secret...each afraid to tell!


The setting is the 1940's during the heigth of WWII and it is the holiday season and fastly approaching Christmas when we meet Mary Marshall (Rogers) and Sgt. Zachary Morgan (Cotten). On a train heading towards Pine Hill, both Mary and Zach find themselves sitting across one another on this ride. What they do not know about each other at this point is that they are both stunted individuals with a lot of package. Mary is on a eight day furlong from prison so she can spend Christmas with her aunt and uncle in the small town of Pine Hill. Where Zach is suffering from shell shock from the war and is granted a ten day leave from the millitary hospital to try to adjust to daily life. Each decides to hold onto their own secret when finally introducing themselves to one another. Mary tells Zach that she is a traveling saleslady going to visit her family for Christmas while Zach says he is going to Pine Hill as well to visit his sister. They both find this to be the more approachable story and something that they want to actually rather accept than the darker reality.

The train then arrives at the Pine Hill depot where the two exchange names and then part ways. Mary then goes to visit her Aunt Clara and Uncle Henry's home. During this time Zach heads into the town and checks into the local YMCA. Mary finds herself depressed while at the family home realizing that the idea of a family and husband are not going to happen due to prison. Shortly, thereafter a perfect phone call happens where Zach calls Mary and she invites him over for a lovely dinner. Together they enjoy friendly conversation and a nice home cooked meal. Afterwards Zach then decides to tell the truth to Mary that he does not have a sister in town but rather chose to stop in Pine Hill to be near Mary. Mary is taken back from this statement and seemingly starts to like him and they decide together to attend a movie at the local movie house.

Mary now knows that Zach was in the war and they head to the local cafe where the local soda jerk has a noticable facial tick. The man then recounts how he got it from having shell shock as well in WWI. With the fear that this is what will happen to him the facial and other ailments in the future Zach runs out of the cafe not able to verbally share any of this with Mary.

Mary is stunned and returns home where she is sharing a room with her cousin Barbara (Temple). Barbara distrusts Mary and labels possessions so they do not get used nor stolen. To get Barbara to better relate to her Mary told her the whole story of why she went into jail. Mary as a secretary is invited one night to go out with her wealthy boss. The dinner is in his apartment which the young Mary should have known better not tohave accepted since he was going to of course try to make advances. Mary truly believes what he says that it is a party she is attending but that quickly changes once arriving and no one is there accept the two of them. Horrible advances are made toward Mary from the boss which she is horrified and avoids. During one of the advances that Mary avoids she pushes him away which has enough momentum to throw him throw the apartment's open window and to his death thus bringing her to court and jail. Barbara now knows Mary's true story of what happened and is touched by her telling it to her so she pleads for forgiveness. The cousins are now better and understand each other.

The next day Zach arrives and invites Mary to spend the day at a local lake with him which she accepts. While they are at the lake Zach takes this time to tell her the real reasons for why he ran of the day before and his war experiences. Later Zach invites the family to the New Year's party at the YMCA where Aunt Sarah buys Mary a new dress to wear so she looks lovely. The party goes very well and at the end of the evening Zach walks Mary home. During this walk they are attacked by a dog where Zach fends him off and then Mary is pleased to tell him that he seems to be getting better. The next issue that Zach faces is that he leaves the next day as does Mary. Zach starts to discuss a future with the two of them and Mary asks to refrain on the topic and to delay it. Mary goes into the house crying and confides into Sarah that she truly loves Zach. During the evening Zach also then suffers a relapse and gets himself better by having himself hear Mary's voice. Yes, Zach truly loves Mary.

Mary finds out when they enter that train together that Zach acts odd and very distant and finds out that Barbara inadvertently says to Zach details of prison with Mary. Mary is then very sadden and cries and when it comes the night to arrive to prison gates in the dark , Zach steps from the shadows to embrace and declare his love.

Note from the classic gentleman:

This is a holdiay classic romance/drama that shows that during the height of WWII people can find true love during the holidays even with harsh circumstances.

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