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It was 1944 and the world was in the midst of a global war. Victory over the Axis powers was by no means a certainty and American audiences needed some escape. Columbia Pictures gave it to them in a light-hearted comedy called Together Again (1944) starring Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer.
The original title of the film was A Woman's Privilege but was changed to Together Again to reflect that this was Dunne and Boyer's third film together. In 1939 they had appeared in two films Love Affair, (which Dunne named as her personal favorite) and When Tomorrow Comes. The Dunne/Boyer chemistry on-screen was undisputed and the script by Virginia Van Upp (who also produced) and F. Hugh Herbert was based on a story by Herbert Biberman. It didn't try to be anything other than what it was - a charming but minor entertainment.
Dunne plays a small-town mayor who has inherited the office from her late husband. When a statue of her husband is accidentally beheaded, her father-in-law, played by the always delightful Charles Coburn, tells her it is a sign from his dead son that she needs to remarry. Dunne travels to New York to meet with sculptor Boyer to make a new statue and the two fall in love, but not before complications reminiscent of a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers comedy.
Co-starring with Dunne, Boyer, and Coburn were Mona Freeman as Dunne's stepdaughter and Jerome Courtland as Freeman's boyfriend. Also appearing in uncredited roles were Shelley Winters, Adele Jergens, Nina Mae McKinney, and former Little Rascals star Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer as an elevator boy. Principal shooting took place on the Columbia lot with some exterior scenes filmed in Connecticut.
Released in the United States just in time for Christmas on December 22, 1944, Together Again received excellent reviews in the press, including The New York Times which called it "a buoyant, featherweight entertainment that is eminently suited to its principals' talents." This was Mona Freeman's fourth film and Jerome Courtland's first. The New York Times singled both out for praise, saying "There are two youngsters in the cast, comparative newcomers, who practically steal the picture, or a couple of scenes at any rate. They are Mona Freeman, playing the mayor's teen-aged daughter, and Jerome Courtland, her high-school sweetheart. In an artfully mixed up romantic situation, wherein the daughter thinks Charles Boyer is in love with her rather than with her mother, Miss Freeman easily walks away with all the honors. And in another instance, when Miss Dunne makes a play for her daughter's suitor and that flustered youth gets up enough courage to kiss her, Mr. Courtland has the audience rolling in the aisle. A gangling, shuffling youth who drawls out his lines, this Courtland fellow undoubtedly will go places in a hurry." (While Courtland's acting career continued into the 1990's, he later made his mark as a director of television programs such as Fantasy Island, The Partridge Family, The Love Boat, Dynasty, The Colby's, Hotel and Matt Houston.)
Irene Dunne would reprise her role of Anne Crandall on The Lux Radio Theater on December 9, 1946 opposite Walter Pidgeon.
Producer: Virginia Van Upp
Director: Charles Vidor
Screenplay: F. Hugh Herbert, Virginia Van Upp, based on a story by Herbert J. Biberman
Cinematography: Joseph Walker
Art Direction: Stephen Goosson, Van Nest Polglase
Music: Werner R. Heymann
Film Editing: Otto Meyer
Cast: Irene Dunne (Anne Crandall), Charles Boyer (George Corday), Charles Coburn (Jonathan Crandall, Sr.), Mona Freeman (Diana Crandall), Jerome Courtland (Gilbert Parker), Elizabeth Patterson (Jessie), Charles Dingle (Morton Buchanan).
by Lorraine LoBianco
The New York Times November 24, 1944
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