When you said goodbye

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German title When you said goodbye
Original title Since You Went Away
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1944
length 120 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director John Cromwell
script Margaret Buell Wilder ,
David O. Selznick
production David O. Selznick for Selznick International on loan from United Artists
music Max Steiner
camera Stanley Cortez ,
Lee Garmes
cut Hal C. Kern ,
James E. Newcom

When you said goodbye (Original title: Since You Went Away ) is an American film from 1944 with Claudette Colbert directed by John Cromwell . The film is one of a series of films depicting life on the home front and is based on the letter-form novel Since You Went Away: Letters to a Soldier from His Wife by Margaret Buell Wilder , which also starred with David O. Selznick Script worked.


The film is set on the US home front during World War II . Anne Hilton is the wife of a businessman. While her husband is an officer at the front, she lives alone with her daughters Jane and Bridget. She tries everything to make the life of the daughters without a father appear as normal as possible. The friend of the house Tony Willett comes to her aid. Daughter Jane falls in love with the soldier Bill. Life goes on when Anne receives news that her husband is missing at the front. When the news of Bill's death arrives, the ideal world collapses. At the end comes the relieving news that Mr. Hilton is still alive. The whole family finally picks him up from the train station.


When the United States entered the war, different genres of cinema films quickly established themselves, depicting events from different angles. In addition to the pure war films, which more or less authentically brought the battles to the screen, there were numerous films that focused on the problems and worries of families on the home front. When you said goodbye is thematically in a group of films with Mrs. Miniver , The White Cliffs of Dover and The Very Thought of You , all of which portray the suffering and fears of those left behind for their loved ones with pathos and a lot of emotion. The film is based on a column by the author Margaret Buell Wilder, which she published in the Dayton Journal Herald since mid-1942 and in the Ladies Home Journal from June 1943 . The fictional letters from the author to her husband, who is standing in the field, describe the events in the family, the growing up of the two daughters and all sorts of sentimental experiences from the everyday life of the family.

David O. Selznick acquired the rights for the low sum of 30,000 US dollars at the end of 1942 and soon afterwards began planning a film adaptation. Filming began in mid-1943 after Selznick had devoted a lot of time and energy to the cast. The central problem with the cast was the character of Anne. After first testing the well-known theater actress Katharine Cornell , Selznick decided to use a better-known name. Ann Harding , Irene Dunne , Helen Hayes and Rosalind Russell have been linked to the part, but in the end the demanding role went to Claudette Colbert . Colbert ended her contract with Paramount Pictures after 18 years and was one of the most successful and highest paid female stars in Hollywood at the time. The actress had won her fans through numerous appearances as a comedian and had strictly refused to play mothers. Selznick therefore chose an indirect way to offer Colbert the role. He got the well-known columnist Hedda Hopper to announce this. As expected, Colbert called Hopper upset to find out how she got the idea that she would play the mother of two teenagers. Hopper succeeded in convincing the actress to gradually switch away from the role of the naive towards the portrayal of mature women at the age of 38. After tough negotiations, Colbert finally accepted the role for a fee of $ 250,000 and the right to two days of paid vacation per month. It was also assured here that only her left profile would be included. The actress's working day ended at 5 p.m. every day, close-ups were only allowed in the morning hours.

The rest of the cast was also carefully selected. Shirley Temple switched to the field of the young naive in the film after her career as a child star came to an end in 1940. Jennifer Jones , with whom Selznick began an affair and for whom he eventually left his first wife, took on the role of the eldest daughter. Joseph Cotten , who had risen to become a popular performer in romantic women’s films within a few months, played Anne's admirer Tony Willet. Alla Nazimova , whose career began with Selznick's father at the time of World War I , ended her career in this film.

Selznick was directed by John Cromwell , with whom he had previously worked on The Prisoner of Zenda from 1937 and An Ideal Couple from 1939. Filming began in mid-1943 and dragged on with a total of 127 days of shooting until February 1944. One reason for the delays was the meddling of Selznick, well-known in the film industry, who bombarded the crew with pages of memos and telegrams every day. Especially the performance of Jennifer Jones, who had just won the Oscar for best actress of 1943 for her performance in The Song of Bernadette , was close to his heart. Selznick monitored every scene with her and intervened until he finally liked the result.

Theatrical release

The cost of production ended up being the very high sum of $ 3,257,000. Numerous previews led to a final version, cut to 172 minutes, which proved to be popular at the box office. In the first year of distribution, the film grossed $ 4,978,000 in the United States alone.


"Well played, humanly sympathetic film with a lot of feeling and a patriotic tendency."


The film went to the 1945 Academy Awards with nine nominations .

He won in the category

  • Best Score - Max Steiner

Further nominations were made for the categories

  • Best movie
  • Best Actress - Claudette Colbert
  • Best Supporting Actress - Jennifer Jones
  • Best Supporting Actor - Monty Wooley
  • Best Production Design (black and white film) - Mark-Lee Kirk , Victor A. Gangelin
  • Best Cinematography (black and white) - Stanley Cortez, Lee Garmes
  • Best Editing - Hal C. Kern, James E. Newcom
  • Best visual effects - Jack Cosgrove , Arthur Johns


The German dubbing was created in 1953 by Hans-Grimm Film GmbH. Hans Grimm directed the dubbing . Eleonore Noelle spoke for Claudette Colbert, Marianne Kehlau for Jennifer Jones , Wolf Ackva for Joseph Cotten and Petra Unkel for Shirley Temple .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b When you said goodbye. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed November 14, 2018 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. When you said goodbye , entry in Arne Kaul's synchronous database; Retrieved September 28, 2009 .