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I’ll Be Seeing You

I’ll Be Seeing You (1944) starring Joseph Cotten, Ginger Rogers, Shirley Temple

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In short, I‘ll Be Seeing You is a wonderful film.  It’s set towards the end of World War II, where a veteran (played very well by Joseph Cotten) is suffering from what we would now call PTSD.  He’s jumping at any sound, and thinks that he’s likely to be attacked at any moment. His doctors at the VA are letting him out from the psych ward, to see how well he’s able to function in normal society. On his train ride, he meets a beautiful young lady (played very well by Ginger Rogers), a lady who’s also out on furlough — from prison.

Ginger’s backstory

I'll Be Seeing You, starring Joseph Cotton and Ginger Rogers, with Shirley Temple

Her character committed accidental manslaughter, fighting off a rapist. This is told in a flashback … She’s telling the story of how she went to prison to her younger cousin, played by a teenage Shirley Temple.  Due to her good behavior, she’s been given a 10-day furlough at Christmas to visit her relatives. One thing leads to another, and she invites the vet to stay at her uncle’s house — and he accepts.

A brief family time

The normal family life does them both a lot of good, with several other threads weaving together.  The happy marriage between the aunt and uncle, the teenage cousin doing her part for the war effort by dancing with young GI’s at USO functions, and the awkward courtship between Joseph Cotten and Ginger Rogers.  With Ginger hiding the truth about her situation.

Final conflict

Things come to a head later on, after a New Year’s Eve dance … And an attack by a guard dog as they’re walking home.  And Joseph Cotten’s character fights against a panic attack.  Then Ginger Rogers’ character has to return to prison, and still is trying to hide the truth from the man that she’s fallen in love with … Until Shirley Temple unwittingly spills the beans.

I’ll Be Seeing You is a truly wonderful movie, highly recommended, with great acting by the entire cast — I rate it 5 stars.

Editorial review of I’ll Be Seeing You courtesy of Amazon.com

Over-eager World War I veteran Chill Wills almost causes Joseph Cotten to suffer a flashback, as he's out with Ginger Rogers
Over-eager World War I veteran Chill Wills almost causes Joseph Cotten to suffer a flashback, as he’s out with Ginger Rogers

Ginger Rogers gives a dramatic performance in this moving romantic drama in which a woman named Mary Marshall, who was convicted of manslaughter (she defended herself when her lecherous boss attempted to rape her and she accidentally killed him), is granted a ten-day furlough for Christmas to visit relatives. Once out, she encounters a shell-shocked vet (Joseph Cotten) on leave from the VA psych ward on a train. The unstable vet has been allowed out by his doctors to see if he is ready to function in normal society.

At first, the vet is nervous around Mary, but something clicks and she invites him to stay at her house during their respective breaks. Together they attempt to have a happy Christmas while dealing with the vet’s problems. At first Mary keeps her own past and troubles to herself, but as they begin falling in love, she decides to tell him the whole story. In this way, the two reconcile their pasts and move closer toward forming a relationship.