photoset: since you went away

Jennifer Jones reading Since You Went Away by Margaret Buell Wilder, 1944.

Jones played Jane Hilton in the movie, adapted from the book, in 1944. “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.” – New York Times 

Next to you is the quietest my mind has ever been. For a moment, i am free to breathe.

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Zofia: I wish my little boy had lived, so he could have seen America. I used to read to him about it every night when the shades were drawn and the sound of heavy boots marching down the street made my poor little Janka shake until I thought his bones would crack. And then we’d pray together that God would let us go to the fairyland across the sea. If only he could have been with me the day I went, all by myself, to the Statue of Liberty and read what it says there for the whole world to see. Do you know it? Anne Hilton, did you ever read it?
Anne:  No. I’m sorry to say, I don’t know it.
Zofia:  It says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” You’ve helped light that lamp for me, Anne Hilton.
Anne:  And then, Tim, she said the most thrilling thing that has ever been said to me. She said: “You are what I thought America was - what I meant when I prayed with little Janka.” And, as in my own small way I help here in the shipyards, I hope I may be worthy of her words, just as each night I pray that always I may be worthy of those other thrilling words…the first time and every time since that you’ve said, “I love you."  
- Since You Went Away, 1944 

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If all the films that Claudette made in which she dealt with children - bathing them, tucking them into bed, reading to them, consoling them - were arranged in order of age, from infants to toddlers, pre-adolescents, teenagers, and adults, the image of a perfect mother would emerge. Perhaps Claudette was just a screen mother, but one would like to think that her films revealed the kind of mother Claudette might have been if she had children of her own. Even when she bathed her young son in Family Honeymoon, she did it with such naturalness that it seemed not only unrehearsed but also unfeigned. It was the same in The Egg and I, when she cupped the chicks in her hands as tenderly as she would hold an infant in her arms. Somehow one feels that changing diapers would have come as easily to Claudette as breezing down a staircase in a Travis Banton gown. 
- Claudette Colbert: She Walked in Beauty 

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“Working with Claudette was one of my most delightful experiences. Now there was a consummate professional! She gave 150 percent to every scene she did, yet there was always a beautiful restraint and control. I always felt Claudette, underneath her gaiety and charm and warmth, was an extremely tough woman. She knew how to roll with the punches and she was sensitive to the moods of the people around her and reacted accordingly, always positively! ”- Joseph Cotten