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Since You Went Away

Since You Went Away
File:Since You Went Away.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Cromwell
Produced by David O. Selznick
Screenplay by David O. Selznick
Based on Since You Went Away: Letters to a Soldier from His Wife 
by Margaret Buell Wilder
Starring Claudette Colbert
Jennifer Jones
Joseph Cotten
Shirley Temple
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Stanley Cortez
Lee Garmes
Edited by John D. Faure
Arthur Fellows
Wayland M. Hendry[1]
Distributed by United Artists (1944, original)
MGM (2004, DVD)
Release dates
  • July 20, 1944 (1944-07-20) (USA)
Running time
172 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3,257,000[2]
Box office $7 million +[2]

Since You Went Away is a 1944 American film directed by John Cromwell for Selznick International Pictures and distributed by United Artists. It is an epic about the American home front during World War II which was adapted and produced by David O. Selznick from the 1943 novel Since You Went Away: Letters to a Soldier from His Wife by Margaret Buell Wilder.[3] The music score was by Max Steiner and the cinematography by Stanley Cortez, Lee Garmes, George Barnes (uncredited) and Robert Bruce (uncredited).

The movie is set in a mid-sized American town, where people with loved ones in the armed forces try to cope with their changed circumstances and make their own contributions to the war effort. The town is near a military base, and some of the characters are troops serving Stateside.

The main characters are a housewife whose husband is away in the service and her two daughters who are just growing into womanhood. The story runs from early January to late December 1943; the film itself was made in late 1943 and early 1944.[citation needed]

Though famously sentimental in places, Since You Went Away is somber at times about the effects of war on ordinary people. Some characters on the homefront are dealing with grief, loneliness or fear for the future. Wounded and disabled troops are shown in the hospital scenes.



According to Bosley Crowther, Since You Went Away, Selznick's first screen production in four years, features a script with an "excess of exhausting emotional detail"; Crowther was impressed with the performances but had issues with the film as a whole:[4]

As the mother and center of the family, Claudette Colbert gives an excellent show of gallantly self-contained emotion, and Jennifer Jones is surpassingly sweet as a well-bred American daughter in the first bloom of womanhood and love. Robert Walker is uncommonly appealing as the young soldier whom she tragically adores, and Shirley Temple, now grown to 'teen-age freshness, is pert as the young sister. Monty Woolley makes a full-blown character of the man who comes to lodge; Joseph Cotten is droll as the Navy playboy, and Hattie McDaniel does an Andy-act quite well....No doubt, this would have been a sharper picture if Mr. Selznick had played it in much less time, and it would have been considerably more significant had he kept it somewhat closer to average means. Two hours and fifty-one minutes is a lot of time to harp upon one well-known theme—lonesomeness and anxiety. And that is all this picture really does.

The movie was popular and earned $4,950,000 in North American rentals during its theatrical release, and over $7 million in rentals overall.[5][2]

Cultural influence

The farewell scene between Jones and Walker at the railway station is often cited as an example of a Hollywood tearjerker scene. It was parodied in the 1981 film Airplane!. Jones and Walker played young sweethearts in Since You Went Away, but in real life they were married at the time and going through a bitter breakup. They divorced not long after the movie was completed,[citation needed] and Jones later married the film's producer, David O. Selznick.


Award Category Nominee Result
Academy Awards [6][7] Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture Max Steiner Won
Best Picture Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Claudette Colbert Nominated
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Monty Woolley Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Jennifer Jones Nominated
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White Stanley Cortez, Lee Garmes Nominated
Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White Mark-Lee Kirk, Victor A. Gangelin Nominated
Best Film Editing Hal C. Kern, James E. Newcom Nominated
Best Effects, Special Effects Jack Cosgrove, Arthur Johns Nominated


Since You Went Away was released to DVD by MGM Home Video on October 19th, 2004 in a Region 1 fullscreened DVD.


  1. "Since You Went Away: Full Credits". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Thomson, David (1993). Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick. Abacus, p. 418.
  3. OCLC 1397161
  4. Since You Went Away, a Film of Wartime Domestic Life, With Claudette Colbert and Others, Opens at the Capitol, a July 21, 1944 review from The New York Times
  5. "All-Time Top Grossers", Variety, 8 January 1964 p 69
  6. "The 17th Academy Awards (1945) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  7. "NY Times: Since You Went Away". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 

External links

Template:David O. Selznick