Film Review of I’ll Be Seeing You: Shirley Temple in 1945 Drama With Joseph Cotten and Ginger Rogers

by DerdriuMarriner

The honesty of a character played by Shirley Temple may or may not ruin romance for her cousin (Ginger Rogers) and a sergeant (Joseph Cotten) in the 1945 film "I'll Be Seeing You."

Friendship and love develop best when communication channels are open.

Some secrets can be too uncomfortable for easy sharing. What will happen when the truth must out before two lovebirds can think of saying “I’ll Be Seeing You”?

Based on a radio play, "I'll Be Seeing You" weaves into its wartime drama the heartbreak and stigma of shell shock, a traumatic reaction to battle that tormented soldiers in World War I (July 28, 1914 - Nov. 11, 1918) and again in World II (Sept. 1, 1939 - Sept. 2, 1945).

Teen-aged Shirley Temple with Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, October 21, 1944:

Victory Loan campaigns, begun in World War I, encouraged Canadians to purchase Victory Bonds, War Savings Certificates and War Savings Stamps; 9 campaigns during World War II raised almost $12 billion.
7th Victory Loan Campaign, Parliament Hill, Ottawa
7th Victory Loan Campaign, Parliament Hill, Ottawa


Getting to know someone can be tricky when there is something to hide in I’ll Be Seeing You by writer Marion Parsonnet, producer Dore Schary, and director William Dieterle. Tony Guadio, William H. Ziegler, and Daniele Amfitheatrof handle cinematography, editing, and music. Filming showcases California’s Los Angeles and San Bernardino Forest areas.

The 85-minute drama adapts Charles E. Martin’s (March 12, 1910 - December 16, 1983) radio play. Its distributor was Selznick International Pictures and United Artists. Its USA-release date was January 5, 1945.

The movie begins with Mary Marshall (Ginger Rogers) and Sergeant Zachary Morgan (Joseph Cotten) catching the Pine Hill train. Mary has an eight-day furlough from the state prison. Zach is on ten-day leave from a military hospital. Neither one shares that information.

Zach claims to visit his sister. Mary presents herself as a traveling saleslady home for Christmas holidays with relatives. They proceed to exchanging names and expecting future interactions. Mary stays with Aunt Sarah (Spring Byington) and Uncle Henry (Tom Tully). Zach telephones Mary from the YMCA.

Mary and Zach dine, go to a war movie, and stop at a café. Zach is forthcoming about fabricating a sister to be near Mary. He is reticent when Mary attempts relating the film to Zach’s war experiences. Back at the room, Zach panics over his shell-shocking during World War II possibly ending up as disfiguring as that night’s soda jerk’s facial tick from World War I shell-shocking.

Henry and Sarah have Mary stay in daughter Barbara’s (Shirley Temple) room. Barbara inventories all her possessions. Mary understands Barbara’s distrust.

Mary describes turning to secretarial work after her parents’ deaths. Her wealthy employer invites her to what sounds like a dinner party. She is the only guest. Mary accidentally pushes her drunk host through an open apartment window. A manslaughter conviction results in a six-year prison sentence.

Zach accounts for his abrupt behavior and health concerns during a day at the lake with Mary. He enjoys Christmas dinner with the Marshalls. Sarah gets Mary a new dress when Zach invites the Marshalls to the YMCA’s New Year’s Eve party. Zach is stressed by:

  • A senator asking for the serviceman’s perspective on politics when Zach considers each serviceman’s opinion unique;

  • A dog attacking him until controlled by its owner (Earl Johnson);

  • Mary claiming sleepiness when he suggests a future together.

The movie ends with Zach:

  • Distancing himself after Barbara discusses Mary’s imprisonment;

  • Leaving without pursuing sustained contact;

  • Showing up at the prison gates to let Mary know of his love and willingness to wait 3 years for them to be together forever.


I'll Be Seeing You (9)

Published on YouTube on April 10, 2008, by m0viel0ver07 ~ URL:



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


Image Credits


Seventh Victory Loan Campaign, Parliament Hill, Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada/C-029451, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons @

m0viel0ver07. "I'll Be Seeing You (9)." YouTube, April 10, 2008, @


the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

DVD: I'll Be Seeing You

I'll Be Seeing You

Shirley Temple Black's autobiography

Child Star: An Autobiography

I'll Be Seeing You, Shirley Temple, 1944

I'll Be Seeing You, Shirley Temple, 1944

I'll Be Seeing You, Shirley Temple, 1945

I'll Be Seeing You, Shirley Temple, 1945

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 04/11/2023, DerdriuMarriner
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