6.9/10
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20 user 3 critic

This Above All (1942)

Approved | | Drama, Romance, War | 12 May 1942 (USA)
Although she comes from an aristocratic family, beautiful Prudence Cathaway defies convention by joining the WAAFs and becoming romantically involved with an AWOL soldier.

Director:

Anatole Litvak

Writers:

Eric Knight (novel), R.C. Sherriff (screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tyrone Power ... Clive Briggs
Joan Fontaine ... Prudence Cathaway
Thomas Mitchell ... Monty
Henry Stephenson ... General Cathaway
Nigel Bruce ... Ramsbottom
Gladys Cooper ... Iris Cathaway
Philip Merivale ... Dr. Roger Cathaway
Sara Allgood ... Waitress
Alexander Knox ... Rector
Queenie Leonard ... Violet Worthing
Melville Cooper ... Wilbur
Jill Esmond ... Nurse Emily Harvey
Holmes Herbert ... Dr. Mathias
Denis Green Denis Green ... Dr. Ferris
Arthur Shields ... Chaplain
Edit

Storyline

Aristocratic Prudence Cathaway shocks her family by enlisting in the WAFs. After enlisting, a fellow WAF sets her up on a blind date with handsome, but moody Clive Briggs. Prudence learns Clive is a deserter, but still loves him and senses he'll eventually prove himself a patriot. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He's lost his belief in everything but love.

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 May 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Âmes rebelles See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Appearing in this film are no fewer than twenty performers who appeared in at least one of the Sherlock Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, including Nigel Bruce who played Ramsbottom. See more »

Quotes

Prudence Cathaway: [referring to Britain's involvement in the War] It's too late to doubt or question. We're in it now, and we've got to go on!
See more »

Connections

References Crime Over London (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Smiles
(uncredited)
Music by Lee S. Roberts
Played as dance music at the pub
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Radiant Fontaine and Handsome Power Make a Fine Romance
26 January 2015 | by dglinkSee all my reviews

Anatole Litvak's engrossing romantic drama, "This Above All," takes place in the early years of World War II, before the United States had entered the war. Like "Mrs. Miniver," the film was intended to boost sympathy and support for England, which was already engaged in a desperate battle with Nazi Germany. Set on a back-lot England with Academy-Award winning sets, the movie has a coziness associated with black-and-white Hollywood studio films of the Golden Era. Prudence Cathaway, a strong-willed young woman from a privileged background, played by 25-year-old Joan Fontaine, joins the WAF, a women's paramilitary group, over family protests. On a blind date one inky black night, she meets Clive Briggs, a moody mysterious man with a dark secret. When she subsequently sees her date in the daylight, he is the impossibly good looking Tyrone Power, and romance inevitably ensues. Despite Brigg's criticism of her own aristocratic background, Fontaine tolerates Power's cynical nature and his ambivalence about fighting to retain the English class system that supports the rich and privileged.

Although breezily entertaining, little occurs during the first half as Fontaine and Power become increasingly involved. The couple flirt, date, and go off for a week's holiday at the seaside, where they encounter some of Briggs's buddies. However, as Briggs's secret unfolds, the film turns darker, and the pro-English propaganda surfaces. Fontaine waxes eloquently about all that England means and why they must fight to preserve the country; meanwhile, Briggs denigrates an economic system that rewards the moneyed aristocracy and oppresses the poor; why should the lower classes fight and die, while the wealthy sip tea and dress for dinner. Veteran actress Gladys Cooper appears to embody the haughty side of undeserved privilege, while Nigel Bruce and Thomas Mitchell ably portray Powers's working class buddies. While the dark-eyed Tyrone Power plays Clive Briggs quite well, Joan Fontaine captures her every scene and turns in a lovely, delicate performance as the rebellious Prudence; her glowing face wordlessly expresses the young woman's growing affection for the handsome Briggs. The Oscar-nominated photography by Arthur C. Miller captures Fontaine's delicate complexion and underplayed expressions and highlights Power at his tall, dark, and handsome best.

Despite a dated message in R. C. Sheriff's screenplay, adapted from a novel by Eric Knight, "This Above All" moves at a brisk pace, and even those averse to romances will be drawn in by Fontaine's radiant performance. If 20th Century Fox wanted to convince American audiences of the importance of supporting a loyal ally against the Nazis, they could have done no better than enlist the aid of Joan Fontaine to do so. She and Power make a romantic pair, and "This Above All" rises above propaganda to be an enduring romantic entertainment.


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