September 12, 2010

Movie Monday: Since You Went Away

I'm starting a new Movie Monday series for September. I promise, these will NOT be as long as the cowboy ones! :) I know those were pretty epic.

This month, the theme will be Homefront Movies - movies about those left behind when the troops go to war. I have to say, these are some of my favorites. I love watching Homefront Movies, always have ever since I was a kid (ironic now). So to start us off with a bang, we'll review what is probably my favorite:

Since You Went Away
It's WWII, and at the start of the movie, Claudette Colbert has just returned from taking her husband to the train. We learn that he wasn't drafted, being middle-aged with a family. He volunteered to join the army and leave his wife and two teenaged daughters behind.
As the movie begins, we see both the emotional and the practical effects this has on the family - for one, his pay is much less as a soldier than as a civilian, so it requires some lifestyle adjustments for the family. They fire the cook and rent out one of the bedrooms, so Mom has to learn to cook and keep house herself. The older daughter (Jennifer Jones) graduates high school and, instead of going to college like her parents want, becomes a Red Cross nurse and works in the VA hospital. The younger daughter (Shirley Temple) sells war bonds, collects scrap metal, grows a victory garden and rolls bandages. In short, each of them wind up doing things they never thought they would be doing because they are now an Army family at war.

It was released during WWII, so it deals with a lot of the issues of the day - like women taking over the workforce, food shortages, wartime romances, and every family's nightmare - receiving a telegram from a cab driver with the initials MIA or KIA in them.
This is definitely a tearjerker, so if you need a good cry, this is the one to put in. I always - always - cry at the ending! It's also pretty epic in length. It even has an intermission!

There are definitely some things about this movie I don't love. Joesph Cotton, for one. He plays the family's adopted "uncle," best friend of the dad gone off to war. While I think Joseph Cotton is a very talented actor, he was a rabid Communist sympathizer (thanks to his close friend, Orson Welles) and several of the monologues he delivers in the movie have an undercurrent to them that reflect that. However, the heartfelt patriotism in the movie outweighs it, so it's easy to overlook.

Mostly, though, this movie is a treasure. It runs the entire emotional gamut and deals with the lives of the military family realistically and respectfully. This is why it is at the top of my list of Homefront Movies.

It comes on TCM occasionally, but it's also available on Netflix.

6 comments:

  1. i love the classics! Joseph Cotten was such a good actor, my fave: "a shadow of a doubt". thanks for the movie review :)

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  2. Oooh! I may have to Netflix that one!

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  3. Never heard of it!
    We got Netflix after I started doing the AFI because you can't really got those movies at Redbox :) So I'll put this one in my queue.

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  4. I'll definitely have to watch that! It seems like a good one. Thanks for the review =)

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  5. I am definitely going to check this movie out while Kyle is in the field tomorow.

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  6. I love old movies and I've never seen this! I'll be adding it to my must see list!

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