Last night I decided to watch my advance copy of Kino Lorber Studio Classics' Blu-ray of David O. Selznick's SINCE YOU WENT AWAY (1944), starring Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Shirley Temple, Joseph Cotten, Hattie McDaniel, Agnes Moorehead and Monty Woolley - not to mention Soda the Bulldog. I put it on without much familiarity; not only did I not realize that I was committing to a restored "roadshow" version nearly three hours in length, but I was also laboring under the confused impression that this was one of a couple of mainstream pictures from Kino Lorber for which my friend Kat Ellinger had recorded an audio commentary for it - which would have been a taxing job, given its 177-minute length, complete with Overture, Intermission, and Ent'racte!*
the first 20 minutes or so, wondering what Kat would have to say about this and that... and then, slowly but surely, I found myself drawn into the wartime melodrama of its lonely yet optimistic Americana - hook, line and sinker. For a film so deeply rooted in dark fears,
and guilty of the occasional racist wartime remark or caricature, it's
as inviting and heartwarming as a Christmas movie. It also reminded me
strongly of times in living memory when Uncle Sam was still a beloved
relative, when America was far less psychotic and manipulated to madness
by our politicians and media. It's manipulative in its own way, mind you, but I
can think of few nicer ways to start leaning toward the holidays.
Superbly restored over its re-release length by an additional 45 minutes, it's
also beautifully photographed in B&W, with lots of long shadows and
inventive shadowplay. Additional kudos for its inventive use of future BATMAN Commissioner Gordon, Neil
It streets November 21. Put it on your shopping list.
* I'm told that Kat and Samm Deighan actually share commentary duties on another David O. Selznick film, I'LL BE SEEING YOU, and LOVE WITH A PROPER STRANGER - both from KL Studio Classics. I am familiar with neither film but I will watch both if only to enjoy their commentary work, which is always top-notch.
(c) 2017 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.