Since You Went Away (1944)

Since You Went Away (1944)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Since You Went Away Photos

Movie Info

David O. Selznick's first production since 1940's Rebecca, Since You Went Away, based on Margaret Buell Wilder's bestselling novel, is a long but rewarding paean to the World War 2 "home front". Claudette Colbert plays the wife of a businessman who, though well past draft age, volunteered to serve his country as an officer (though the husband is never seen, he is "played"-via a photograph-by Neil Hamilton). Fighting back her own fears and anxieties, Colbert does her best to maintain a normal, stable household for the sake of her growing daughters Jennifer Jones and Shirley Temple. She is offered moral support by cynical-but-kindly boarder Monty Woolley, by maid Hattie McDaniel (who willing foregoes her salary "for the duration") and by Navy man and friend-of-the-family Joseph Cotten, whose relationship with Claudette remains staunchly platonic. The harsh realities of war hit home several times throughout the film, first when it seems as though Colbert's husband is missing in action, and later when Jennifer's young boyfriend, GI Robert Walker, is killed in combat. From the vantage point of the 1990s, it is easy to see why Since You Went Away scored with its wartime audiences. Though the leading characters are slightly more financially secure than most of the moviegoers of 1944, the various vignettes presented throughout-complaints about rationing and priorities, shoulder-to-shoulder sacrifices, the weekly escape to the local movie house, tender partings, joyous reunions, the returning wounded, the dreaded wire from the war department-all had the ring of truth and topicality. Even today, the film's emotional highlights, particularly the much-imitated farewell scene at the railroad station, are sufficient to bring tears to the eyes of the most jaded viewer. Enhancing the film's heartstring tugging tenfold is Max Steiner's Oscar-winning musical score. If you can remain objective while watching Since You Went Away (it isn't easy), see if you can spot Ruth Roman, Guy Madison and John Derek, making their screen debuts in microscopic roles
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
United Artists


Claudette Colbert
as Anne Hilton
Shirley Temple
as Bridget Hilton
Joseph Cotten
as Lt. Anthony Willett
Monty Woolley
as Col. Smollett
Robert Walker
as Cpl. William G. Smollett II
Lionel Barrymore
as Clergyman
Hattie McDaniel
as Emily Hawkin
Agnes Moorehead
as Emily Hawkin
Craig Stevens
as Danny Williams
Guy Madison
as Harold Smith
Gordon Oliver
as Marine officer
Keenan Wynn
as Lt. Solomon
Albert Basserman
as Dr. Sigmund Gottlieb Golden
Alla Nazimova
as Zosia Koslowska
Lloyd Corrigan
as Mr. Mahoney
Jackie Moran
as Marine Officer
Jane Devlin
as Gladys Brown
Ann Gillis
as Becky Anderson
Byron Foulger
as Principal
Edwin Maxwell
as Businessman
Florence Bates
as Hungry Woman
Theodore von Eltz
as Desk clerk
Doodles Weaver
as Convalescent
Warren Hymer
as Convalescent
Jonathan Hale
as Conductor
Eilene Janssen
as Sergeant's Child
Ruth Roman
as Envious Girl
Andrew V. McLaglen
as Former Plowboy
Jill Warren
as Waitress
Terry Moore
as Refugee child
Bobby Johnson
as Black Officer
Dorothy Dandridge
as Black Officer's Wife
Irving Bacon
as Bartender
Addison Richards
as Maj. Atkins
Barbara Pepper
as Pin girl
Harry Hayden
as Conductor
Jimmy Clemons
as Boy Caroler
Charles Williams
as Man in Cocktail Lounge
Neil Hart
as Minor Role
Robert Anderson
as Patron at Bar
Shelby Bacon
as Black Couple's Son
Aileen Pringle
as Woman at Cocktail Lounge
Wallis Clark
as Man at Cocktail Lounge
Rob Johnson
as Black Officer
James Carlisle
as Sugar's Officer Friend
Leo Mostovoy
as Headwaiter at Steak House
Joyce Horn
as Swenson's Girl Friend
John A. James
as Friendly Sergeant at Dance
Mary Anne Durkin
as Frightened Girl at Dance
Richard C. Wood
as Man in Cocktail Lounge
Ruth Valmy
as Tony's Friend
Grady Sutton
as Soldier Hunting for Susie Fleming
Buddy Gorman
as Short Private on Dance Floor
Tom Dawson
as Tough Bronx Soldier
Patricia Peters
as Tall WAC
George Lloyd
as Motorcycle Policeman
Russell Hoyt
as One-Armed Sailor
Loudie Claar
as Young Mother
Conrad Binyon
as Page Boy
Jimmie Dodd
as Train Passenger
Christopher Adams
as Train Passenger
Martha Outlaw
as Train Passenger
Verna Knopf
as Train Passenger
Robert Cherry
as Train Passenger
Kirk Barron
as Minor Role
Earl Jacobs
as One-Armed Boy
Cecil Ballerino
as Patient at Potters Wheel
Jack Gardner
as Patient in Wheelchair
James Westerfield
as Convalescent on Rehab Steps
Neil Hamilton
as Tim Hilton - photograph
Ralph Reed
as Convalescent
Paul Esberg
as Convalescent
Dorothy Mann
as Marine's Girl Friend
Peggy Maley
as Marine's Second Girl Friend
Eddie Hall
as Eager Sailor
Warren Barr
as Minor Role
Betsy Howard
as Friend of Envious Girl at Train Station
Terry Revell
as Foreman
Steve Wayne
as Bearded Sailor
Walter S. Baldwin
as Train Station Gateman
Marilyn Hare
as Merchant Marine's Wife
Eric Sinclair
as Voice in Convalescent Ward (voice)
Lela Bliss
as Gabby Woman on Telephone at Train Station
Harlan Miller
as Military Policeman
Mrs. Roy Feldman
as Soldier's Grandmother
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Critic Reviews for Since You Went Away

All Critics (8)

Colbert is too good, and the script (though bloated) too full of lovely details about small town American life in the '40s to reject it outright.

Full Review… | June 17, 2014
Antagony & Ecstasy

In a vital period of film history, war films ran the gamut of topics, none more fascinating or heart-wrenching as those of the lives of the people left behind at home.

Full Review… | December 15, 2013
Cinema Sight

Selznick's schmaltzy tale of the heroic behavior of one "typical" American family during WWII boasts noble political values, but it's devoid of many artistic merits.

Full Review… | February 26, 2008

I cherished the film's three-hour running time because it gave me time to get to know these people, even love them a little.

Full Review… | April 14, 2005
Goatdog's Movies

Beautifully made wartime drama with stellar cast.

November 20, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

World War II propaganda homefront schmaltz

August 12, 2002
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Audience Reviews for Since You Went Away

Likely very memorable during the war days. Here we have the tale of pining away for people who have gone overseas without modern communication to let you know immediately about potential fateful events. Nice music as well.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Selnick's slick paean to an idealized life at the homefront while Dad's away fighting the war shows an upper middle class family "roughing it" through. American propaganda, sure, but well done nonetheless, with the cast delivering on all counts. The music score, indeed the film itself, includes healthy doses of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" which was popular during filming. A dog steals the film though with comic bits leavening the drama throughout.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Nice 40's drama reflecting the "war at home" during the height of WWII. Superb performances from Claudette Colbert and Lionel Barrymore. The knock on this one is it's length (three hours!) and it's occasionally forced sentimentality.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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