THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU was one of those wonderful, unexpected viewing treats, a charming and thoroughly absorbing World War II romance.
Dennis Morgan plays a soldier who spends Thanksgiving leave in his old college town, Pasadena, California. While in Pasadena he becomes reacquainted with the girl (Eleanor Parker) who used to wait on him in the soda shop when he was a student, and after a whirlwind courtship, they wed.
Morgan and Parker are both very believable as wartime sweethearts, giving warm, tender performances. Extensive location shooting in Southern California adds to the film's realism; the movie was filmed at the California Institute of Technology and the Mount Wilson Observatory, along with other locations.
The film has a very original feel to it, not least because of its depiction of Parker's family. Parker's character, Janet, is supported by a loving father (Henry Travers) and little sister (Georgia Lee Settle), but the rest of her family is dysfunctional, to say the least. Beulah Bondi, as Parker's mother, was downright scary. Andrea King plays Parker's sister, who dates other men while her husband serves in the war. Janet is sweet-natured but also refuses to put up with her family when their behavior crosses the line, and I appreciated the way she stood up for herself.
Dane Clark and Faye Emerson round out the supporting cast, as Morgan and Parker's best friends.
This film would make a good double bill with TENDER COMRADE, which starred Ginger Rogers and Robert Ryan. Rogers and Parker each play girls working for the war effort in Southern California factories while their husbands go off to war.
There are a couple truly gorgeous large photos from the film at the Official Andrea King website. Someone has created a very impressive tribute to the actress.
THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU runs 99 minutes and was shot in black and white. It was co-written and directed by Delmer Daves, who also directed THE LAST WAGON, reviewed here in February 2007.
The trailer can be seen at the TCM site, although frankly the goofy nature of the trailer doesn't adequately capture the film's charm and sweet romance.
As is too often the case, THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU is not available on either DVD or video. It can be viewed as part of the library at Turner Classic Movies. Vote here for it to be released on DVD. This film very much deserves a wider viewing audience.