Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tonight's Movie: The Very Thought of You (1944)

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. This film very much deserves a wider viewing audience.


Blogger jau said...

How did you see this "tonight" as it's not on TCM's schedule nor available for home viewing?? I'm SOOOO jealous!!!!

Do you know Vacation from Marriage? I won't say more unless you know it - it's a similar vein and absolutely fantastic.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Ah, here's my secret: I go through each month's TCM guide (NOW PLAYING) when it arrives, note the movies that sound interesting, DVR them and then immediately transfer to tape. I thus have a (substantial) backlog of great movies from TCM, and a few from Fox, to watch at my convenience.

Part of the reason I do this is that often I have no time to watch TV or movies during the week, between homeschooling, running the house, and my home business as a proofreader, which takes up my evenings. So it's very rare that I can watch things at the time they're actually airing. This week I've been fortunate -- after a very heavy month of work I am enjoying a slow workweek and have time for movies!

Believe it or not, VACATION ON MARRIAGE has been sitting on those tapes for about a year! LOL. I've never seen it and am glad to know you liked it so well. It's on the same tape with some other WWII-era movies, TILL THE END OF TIME and A LETTER FOR EVIE, so it's kind of a "theme" tape. :)

Best wishes,

3:41 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Typo correction: It's VACATION FROM MARRIAGE, not ON... :)


5:16 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have been trying to get TCM to play THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU for my 90-year old mother. She loves that movie and last time TCM played it, I go to see it. It is truly a charming film and captures the essence o fly parent's courtship. My father was in the Navy during the war when he met my mother and they married short,y thereafter,

Do you have a copy you could loan me? Or perhaps you can email me?

6:48 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

It's a lovely movie, isn't it? How wonderful you feel a connection between the movie's story and your own family.

I've been hoping myself that it will be released on DVD by the Warner Archive! We'll cross our fingers it comes out soon. :)

Best wishes,

8:37 AM  

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