Dec 23, 2011

I'll be seeing you (1944): a great "Christmas movie"

Ahhh, the holidays. The season where you feel socially compelled to buy and eat. A lot. The season where you ask little kids if they believe in Santa and they don't. But you do. Kind of. The season where you listen to Christmas songs and they finally make sense (yep, I listen to Christmas music all the year, The Elf soundtrack is amazing). 

Seems that it was also the season where people returned home from the war or jail and a little brat not so little Shirley Temple was there to point her judgmental finger at you.

What a great movie I'll be seeing you is (and what a great song it has). It's a film that, just like The best years of our lives, shows what war does to people, without even showing the battlefield, without any patriotic speeches given by a character looking to the horizon. It also shows the life of the people who stayed, old people, young people, some showing the calmness that being accustomed to resignation projects, others trying to help with written messages of hope for people fighting abroad. And, very surprisingly, it also tells the story of a imprisoned woman that is paying for a mistake, an accident, even when the result wasn't her fault.

Director William Dieterle (Portrait of Jennie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) and the writers constructed a measured movie. It feels real. 

It shows people that laughs at the table at spontaneous, not so funny jokes. People that try to maintain their dignity even when their circumstances are difficult and not always succeed. Characters, like Shirley's, that aren't sweet and kind, because usually adolescents are not. They have too many things to deal with. Ginger, the inmate that goes home for the holidays, tries to combine her few clothes to look normal for a while and makes an effort to answer difficult questions, overlook prejudices...or just tries to hide her situation from new acquaintances. And one night Joseph Cotten, the troubled soldier, tries to control his mental and physical scars, to calm down, talking to himself, but completely fails, and just lays there, sweaty, tired. 

There are so many moments from this movie that stay in your mind. For example, the dog attack is so well filmed that the scene shocks you, just like reality. It occurs without warning, in a moment that was preceded by a calm walk, with no suspense music. The actors are so well in they roles that you empathize with their humanity (after watching this film, my dad said that Ingrid Bergman is no longer his favorite actress).

And it happens to be Christmas time, and everyone is making an effort to forget and smile, to share a supper, a song, a present, a smile. Whatever. Because sometimes life is tough and you just have each other to hang on. And, sometimes, like in I'll be seeing you, life smiles you back, even if it's for a moment, outside the prison where you live.

----Written for Sally's 12 Days of Christmas movies. Have a great Christmas people, enjoy yourselves and leave milk & cookies for Santa!!



  1. You did an amazing job with this post, Clara! You really put into words what I love about this movie and also enlightened me on things about it that I'd never noticed before. It is such a refreshingly different kind of Christmas movie, but no less memorable.

  2. Great post!! I've never seen this movie but I do love Ginger Rogers. I'll definitely have to check it out soon. Thank you so much for joining the blogathon this year!!

  3. Oh, dear. It sounds sad! But I loved your write-up!

    And I listen to Christmas music year-round too!

    And I loved your comment about believing in Santa.

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Clara, I'll admit I've never seen I'LL BE SEEING YOU (though I've heard the song many times), but your poignant review made me interested in keeping an eye out for the film! You did a great job of arousing my interest! Merry Christmas to you and your friends and loved ones from all of us here at Team Bartilucci H.Q.!

  5. Great review, Clara!!!

    This movie is really one of the more underrated in Ginger's cache... it's smartly directed and produced, and all roles are played to maximum effect...kind of weird it wasn't up for any Oscars that year, but it may have been a bit too close after the war for folks to nominate it. It is really the closest 'Christmas movie' Ginger made, save for 'Bachelor Mother'... but this one is VERY centered around Christmas, as the whole meeting occurs due to Christmas furlough, and really has some nice scenes that bring out the 'meaning' of the season, in that it's a time for 'rebirth' and 'second chances'.

    Even more interesting is the accurate contrast of your linked review for Tender Comrade, which I concur is a bit overwrought, and was one Ginger was quite tentative to be in, primarily for the 'political' aspect of it. The plot WAS a bit too predictable, to be sure. Ginger of course looked awesome in it, tho, so that alone will get my attention, right? And, yes, no matter how 'cheesy' the finale speech Ginger has at the end, it ALWAYS reduces me to mush every time I watch it...that's just the 'Gingerologist' in me! :-)

    Anyway, it's GREAT to hear your dad is a new Ginger fan... for more Gingery goodness, please check out my blog, 'Gingerology' - it would be awesome for ya to stop by!

    Thanks again for the great review, and hope you and yours had an incredible Christmas!!!


  6. [I'm so sorry for the delay in answering your comments boy and girls]

    Audrey: Thank you so much, I'm soo glad you liked it! I agree with you, it's different, but very memorable. Thanks for stopping by!

    Sally: Hope you can check it soon, it's great!! Thanks for visiting!

    Emma: It's kind of sad, but it ends with lots of hope :) You should check it. Thanks for your kind comment, I'm glad there's more people that listen to Xmas music year-round :)

    Dorian: Thank you very much, I hope you can check it sometime, it's a great film. Thanks for your comment, I really really appreciate it :)

    VKMfanHuey: Thank you very much, I really appreciate a comment like that coming from such a great Ginger fan :) Yes, it's a great movie, that goes beyond its "Crhistmas time" atmosphere, it's profound and very unique. Well, my dad loved Ginger before this film, but mainly because of her musicals...Now he takes her like the serious actress she also was. The best for you, thanks for visiting :)



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