As David O. Selznick screenplayed his own production, from Margaret Buell Wilder’s [adaptation of her own] book, Since You Went Away is a heart-warming panorama of human emotions, reflecting the usual wartime frailties of the thoughtless and the chiseler, the confusion and uncertainty of young ideals and young love, all of it projected against a background of utterly captivating home love and life in the wholesome American manner.
Claudette Colbert is the attractive, understanding mother of Jennifer Jones, 17, and Shirley Temple, in her earliest teens, all of whom adore their absent husband and father, Timothy, a captain off to the wars. The father is never shown; only his photo in officer’s uniform, along with closeups of other domestic memorabilia.
True, Selznick’s continuity has given director John Cromwell an episodic script, but it is this narrative form which makes for so much audience-appeal. Each sequence is a closeup, a character study, a self-contained dramalet.
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1944: Best Score for a Dramatic Picture.
Nominations: Best Picture, Actress (Claudette Colbert), Supp. Actor (Monty Woolley), Supp. Actress (Jennifer Jones), B&W Cinematography, B&W Art Direction, Editing, Special Effects