Since You Went Away(1944). Directed by John Cromwell. Produced by David O. Selznick from the novel Since You Went Away: Letters to a Soldier from His Wife by Margaret Buell Wilder. The music score was by Max Steiner and the cinematography by Stanley Cortez, Lee Garmes, George Barnes (uncredited) and Robert Bruce (uncredited). Cast: Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Shirley Temple and Joseph Cotten with Monty Woolley, Robert Walker, Lionel Barrymore, Hattie McDaniel, Agnes Moorehead, Guy Madison, Craig Stevens, Janelle Johnson, Keenan Wynn, Florence Bates, and Alla Nazimova.
At the time, the longest and most expensive Hollywood film since David O. Selznick's, Gone with the Wind (1939).
The story begins on January 12, 1943, when Anne questions her husband's decision to leave his family and his well paying job to fight in the war. Anne has to let Fidelia, the family's housekeeper go, as she can no longer afford to pay her wages.
Because of the housing shortage they decide to take in a border by the name, Col. William G. Smollett, a retired army officer.
Soon after, Fidelia asks to move back into the house, offering her housekeeping services as rent. To complicate matters even more, is the romance between Anne's daughter Jane and the Colonel's grandson.
This film captures perfectly the worry of those who with loved ones fighting in the war. Watch for the unforgettable scene when Mr. Mahoney leaves the movie theater. Also, one of my favorite Jennifer Jones performances. You will need a box of Kleenex for this film.
The couple were married in Tulsa, Oklahoma on January 2, 1939 and moved to Hollywood to find work in films.
Unfortunately, things did not go as planned and they moved to New York. Walker soon found work in radio while Phylis stayed home and gave birth to two sons, actor Robert Walker, Jr., born April 15, 1940, and Michael Walker, born March 13, 1941.
Soon after, Phylis was discovered in 1941 by producer David O. Selznick, who changed her name to Jennifer Jones.
She landed the role in the film, The Song of Bernadette (1943).
The couple returned to Hollywood, where Walker started work on the war drama, Bataan (1943). Walker's charming demeanor won him roles as the "boy-next-door in films: See Here, Private Hargrove (1944) and Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945).
He also appeared in the film, Since You Went Away (1944) in which he and his wife portrayed doomed young lovers. In real life, they divorced shortly after.
Also that year, Walker starred in the film, The Clock, opposite Judy Garland, in her first dramatic film. Although Walker, continued to work steadily in Hollywood, he was distraught over the divorce and he suffered a nervous breakdown.
In 1946, Walker starred in, Till the Clouds Roll By, where he played the song writer Jerome Kern. He starred as composer Johannes Brahms in, Song of Love (1947), which co-starred Katharine Hepburn. Later, Walker starred with Ava Gardner in the film, One Touch of Venus(1948).
Soon after he was hired by director Alfred Hitchcock for one of his best performances, Strangers on a Train (1951).