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The Impatient Years
Director: Irving Cummings (Dir)
Release Date:   7 Sep 1944
Premiere Information:   San Francisco premiere: 30 Aug 1944
Production Date:   14 Mar--28 Apr 1944
Duration (in mins):   89-90
Duration (in feet):   8,189
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Cast:   Jean Arthur (Janie Anderson)  
    Lee Bowman (Andy Anderson)  
    Charles Coburn (William Smith)  
    Edgar Buchanan (Judge)  
    Charley Grapewin (Bellboy)  
    Phil Brown (Henry Fairchild)  
    Harry Davenport (Minister)  
    Jane Darwell (Minister's wife)  
    Grant Mitchell (Hotel clerk)  
    Frank Jenks (Top sergeant)  
    Frank Orth (Coffee shop counterman)  
    Charles Arnt (Marriage clerk)  
    Robert Emmett Keane (Attorney)  
    Bob Haymes (Singer)  
    Martin Ashe (M.P.)  
    William Hall (M.P.)  
    Matt Willis (M.P.)  
    Bob Homans (Old man)  
    Dick Elliott (Bailiff)  
    Vickie Beaver (Baby Bill)  
    Regina Wallace (Nurse)  

Summary: When he is called to testify at his daughter Janie's divorce hearing, William Smith advises the judge against granting the divorce. Smith suggests that the couple's problems arose during their long separation after a whirl-wind courtship and recalls the day that Janie's soldier husband, Andy Anderson, returned home on medical leave: After serving overseas in the military for a year and a half, Andy arrives at the bus station in a small town outside San Francisco and is met by his nervous bride. Having known each other for only four days before Andy was sent overseas, the two greet each other as strangers. Taking Andy home to the house that she shares with her father and their boarder, Henry Fairchild, Janie introduces him to their infant son Bill. Henry, who has fallen in love with Janie and has served as a surrogate father to Bill, resents Andy's presence. That night, Andy insists on sleeping on the floor, and when he is late for breakfast the next morning, he incurs Janie's wrath. When Andy accuses his wife of being stuck in her housekeeping routine, she charges him with living with his head in the sky. She then slugs him with a diaper, and after he retaliates, they wind up in divorce court. His testimony complete, Smith urges the judge to send the couple back to San Francisco, where they met, and allow them to relive their courtship. The judge embraces Smith's suggestion, and makes their divorce contingent upon them retracing the four days they spent together in San Francisco. After leaving Bill in the custody of the court, the couple travel to the city. At the hotel, their request for separate rooms piques the interest of the desk clerk and bellboy. After restaging their meeting in the coffee shop, they proceed to the point overlooking the Bay Bridge, where Andy recalls the romantic speech that he made to Janie prior to proposing. Andy's kiss begins to melt Janie's icy attitude and they return to the hotel. Janie's door is guarded by the curious bellboy, and when Janie leaves her room to visit the bathroom down the hall, Andy, who has the adjoining room, taps a tentative love message on the wall. The knocking upsets the bellboy, who chastises Andy for disturbing the other hotel guests. The next morning, Andy and Janie go to city hall to apply for a marriage license, and confound the clerk by informing him that they are already married. That night, Andy takes Janie dancing and is about to admit that he missed her when another soldier interrupts and asks Janie to dance. When Andy begins to argue with the soldier, an MP intervenes and Janie comes to her husband's defense. Back at the Smith house, meanwhile, a letter arrives revoking Andy's leave and ordering him to report to a San Francisco hospital. When Smith calls the hotel to tell Andy the news, the desk clerk claims that Andy has gone insane. Alarmed, Smith and Henry rush to San Francisco. On the day of their wedding, Janie and Andy reluctantly climb the stairs to the minister's house and ring the doorbell. When they tell the minister that he has already married them, he invites them to tea. Remembering the ceremony, the minister's wife voices her certainty that they are a good match and discusses the sanctity of marriage. Her speech causes Janie and Andy to reflect on their marriage, and Andy realizes that he wants to be around to see Bill take his first steps. At dinner, Janie becomes ill and Andy helps her back to the hotel. As they pass the registration desk, they joke with the clerk that Andy has poisoned her. After Andy puts Janie to bed, they decide to reconcile and work to overcome their differences. Meanwhile, downstairs in the lobby, Smith and Henry have just arrived at the hotel, and when the clerk informs them that Andy has poisoned Janie, Smith rushes upstairs and bursts into Janie's room just as Andy is trying to cure Janie's hiccups by holding a pillow over her face, causing Smith to think that he is trying to suffocate her. At that moment, the MPs, summoned by Henry, enter the room, arrest Andy and take him to the hospital. When Smith and Janie go to the hospital in search of Andy, they are informed that he has been ordered back to duty and, with only a few hours of liberty remaining, has gone. Downhearted, Janie returns to the courthouse and tells the judge that she no longer wants a divorce because she and Andy have decided to keep their feet in housekeeping and their heads in the sky. When the judge informs Janie that her baby is at home waiting for her, Janie returns to the house and finds Andy teaching Bill to walk. Father and son then walk to Janie, and they all embrace. 

Production Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures Corp.  
Director: Irving Cummings (Dir)
  Abby Berlin (Asst dir)
Producer: Irving Cummings (Prod)
  Virginia Van Upp (Assoc prod)
Writer: Virginia Van Upp (Orig scr)
Photography: Joseph Walker (Dir of photog)
  Burnett Guffey (Photog)
Art Direction: Lionel Banks (Art dir)
  Cary Odell (Art dir)
Film Editor: Al Clark (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Ross Dowd (Set dec)
Costumes: Jean Louis (Gowns)
Music: Marlin Skiles (Mus score)
  M. W. Stoloff (Mus dir)
Sound: Ed Bernds (Sd eng)
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Columbia Pictures Corp. 18/8/1944 dd/mm/yyyy LP12867

PCA NO: 10105
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

 
Genre: Romance
  Romance
Sub-Genre: Domestic
  Homefront
 
Subjects (Major): Courtship
  Divorce
  Marriage
 
Subjects (Minor): Bellboys
  Fathers and daughters
  Fathers and sons
  Fathers-in-law
  Hotel clerks
  Hotels
  Housewives
  Infants
  Judges
  Lodgers
  Military leave
  Ministers
  Proposals (Marital)
  San Francisco (CA)
  Soldiers

Note: An early HR production chart credits Burnett Guffey with photography although Joseph Walker is credited onscreen in that capacity. FDYB incorrectly credits Hal Mohr and W. Howard Greene with photography and Russell Schoegarth with editing. According to Columbia publicity materials contained in the AMPAS Library production files, backgrounds for this production were filmed in Sonora, CA. The picture marked writer Virginia Van Upp's first assignment as an associate producer, and was also Jean Arthur's last film under her Columbia contract. Arthur and Charles Coburn had previously starred together in the 1943 Columbia film The More the Merrier (see below) and the 1941 RKO film The Devil and Miss Jones (see above). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   26 Aug 1944.   
Daily Variety   21 Aug 44   p. 3.
Film Daily   25 Sep 44   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Feb 44   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Mar 44   p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Aug 44   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Sep 44   p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   15 Apr 44   p. 1849.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   26 Aug 44   p. 2065.
New York Times   20 Sep 44   p. 20.
Variety   23 Aug 44   p. 18.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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