William Dieterele’s I’ll Be Seeing You (1944) is a bittersweet melodrama about a female convict, Mary Marshall (Ginger Rogers) who is released from the state penitentiary on Christmas leave. Boarding a westbound train, Mary meets Zachary Morgan (Joseph Cotten) an army sergeant who has just been released from a mental hospital.
The two develop an affinity for one another on their journey, so much so that, after learning he’ll be spending Christmas alone, Mary invites Zach to her sister’s (Spring Byington) place for dinner. An unlikely poignant romance blossoms between Mary and Zach, under the boy crazy eye of Mary’s niece, Barbara (Shirley Temple – all grown and type cast as the eager Junior Miss with a penchant for men too old for her).
Throughout the holidays, Mary keeps her incarceration a secret and Zach does his best to conceal the fact that he is a man with more than his share of psychological problems. Ultimately the story dissolves into the sort of treacle one might expect from war time schlock and nonsense, but its central performances are so solid and poignant that one easily overlooks the implausibility of it all and share in its tear jerking, heart-rending good cry and smile. Bring Kleenex.
MGM’s DVD is impressive. The B&W picture exhibits a very nicely balanced gray scale with smooth, solid blacks and very clean whites. Age related artifacts are present throughout but do not distract. Some minor edge enhancement crops up and there is more than a hint of pixelization in infrequent spots but overall the picture will surely not disappoint. The audio is mono but more than adequate for a film of this vintage. There are no extras.
FILM RATING (out of 5 - 5 being the best)