The White Cliffs of Dover

Synopsis: London based American nurse, Susan, Lady Ashwood, is at the hospital awaiting the imminent arrival of injured soldiers. She is hoping that her enlisted son, Sir John Ashwood, who resembles his father both in appearance and temperament, is not among those injured. As she waits, she remembers back to WWI when her husband, the previous Sir John Ashwood, was enlisted, and the waiting she endured on any news from and about him while he was away in battle. From a humble background, Sue almost didn't meet Sir John let alone marry him as she and her father, Hiram Dunn, the publisher of a small daily newspaper, were only in London in April 1914 on a two week vacation - her first ever trip - that was not going very well when by happenstance she got invited on her last day in London to the king's ball, where Sir John was awaiting the arrival of another young woman with who he was supposed to keep company for the evening. Despite being mutually attracted to each other, the patriotic Sue didn't kno
Genre: Drama, Romance, War
Director(s): Clarence Brown
Production: Warner Home Video
126 min

Out of the Sea

That once made her secure.

I have loved England,

and still as a stranger,

Here is my home, and I still am alone.

One moment.

Come in.

I brought you a cup of tea.

I thought it might be welcome.

It is...


You really are an angel, Margaret.

Thank you. What time is it?

Just on 4 a.m.

Really? Sit down, Margaret.

Why don't you take your cap off

And lie down for a while?

We were told to stand by.

There must be some very good reason.

It helps to be doing something.

You're worried.

Who isn't nowadays?

I thought your son was to

spend the week with you.

He phoned to say his

leave had been canceled.

I haven't heard anything since.

It's been 5 days now.

I'm terribly worried.

So when we were told to

stand by for emergency,

You made up your mind

he'd be in the thick of it.

Yes, Margaret, Im afraid I did.

Well, you can be wrong, you know.

I hope you are.

Do try and rest.

Both motors cut.

Sit down, will you?

This is extremely confidential, Susan.

I've been notified

by the surgeon general

To prepare for casualties

within 24 hours.

He anticipates a possible 5,000.

So many?

The matron tells me

we can take 300 here.

Can you have that number

of extra beds ready?

If you allow us to

use the corridors, yes.

Yes, of course you may.

I've had a talk with the matron, too,

About nursing and surgical facilities.

Will you see that your

staff thoroughly understands

What will be expected of them?


Thank you. That will be all.

I suppose I mustn't ask questions.

My dear, your guess is as good as mine.

Obviously a big show somewhere.


No, hardly. A raid on

the French coast, perhaps.

On a big scale, by the sound of it.

Is that...


They usually start at dawn.

It's been a long day, Margaret.

I never could have managed without you.

You sure you won't let me

get you something to eat?

You haven't had very much today.

No, thanks.

Shall I open the window?

It seems a bit warm in here.

All right. Thank you.

Strange, isn't it, Margaret?

The way one's mind races about.

When one's happy...

when life's going along

In its normal, peaceful way,

I don't suppose we think very much-

Very deeply, anyway-

But in times like these,

we think. We wonder.

All sorts of thoughts have been

going through my head all day.

I know.

When I first came from

America to England as a girl,

I was only going to stay two weeks...

and Ive spent my whole life here.

My whole life.

And I have a son out there somewhere.

A life is really a very,

very long time, Margaret,

When you look back to

when you were young.

Of course, you wouldn't know that.

I will soon.

Good night, Margaret.

Good night.

A very, very long time.

Strange to look back

To the day so long ago-

The green sea and the purple haze

And then, far off and low, England.

I watched the long day

start on that gray shore,

A young girl with an open

heart at Englands door.

I had no thought then

of husband or lover.

I was a traveler, the guest of a week,

Yet when they pointed "the

white cliffs of dover,"

Startled, I found there

were tears on my cheek.

Sue, there are tears in your eyes.

Ha ha! Oh, are there?

It's just that Im so thrilled.

I've never traveled before,

And it's so wonderful to see

the things you've read about.

That coast is full of history-

Our history.

Raleigh set out from here to find

A new world called Virginia,

And so did the mayflower

With those English rebels

To find a new England.

I suppose I sound like a schoolmarm,

But that's our background-

That little green island.

Her past belongs to us,

Her history and her glory.

The Magna Carta's ours

And Milton and Shakespeare.

You think Im an idiot

Spilling over like this.

I think you're wonderful.

I'm crazy about you, sue.

I haven't got a lot to

offer, but it's a good farm.

It's dad's, of course, but

it will be mine someday.

That's why Im going to Scotland-

To buy cattle, improve the strain.

I'm looking for a bull

and some good heifers.

Going to bring them back with me-

In the hold, of course.

Oh, gosh, I say dumb things.

I'm not like this all the time.

It's just that Im trying to

make a good impression on you.

But you hardly know me,

Sam. Don't you think-

Oh, I know it's kind of sudden,

But if you'll just think about

it. I won't see you in London.

Father, you stayed up after all.

Yes. I got talking at the bar.

Where's this England

I hear so much about?

There she is.

Ah. Ha ha! Doesn't look much bigger

Than Marthas vineyard to me.

Always rains in England.

That's what they say.


Good-Bye, sue. I've

got to catch my train.

Good-Bye, Sam.

You don't mind if I write?

Of course not. Good-Bye.


Good-Bye, Mr. Dunn.

Oh, good-Bye,

my boy. Good-Bye.

Immigration, sir. Can I

have your name, please?

Hiram p. Dunn.

The "p" is for...

Porter. That's my mother's maiden name,

Since you're so interested.

Thank you, sir. Your age, please?


I'm the publisher of the Toliver sun.

That's a daily newspaper.

How long do you propose

to stay in England?

From April 2, 1914,

until April 16, 1914-

That's exactly two weeks.

You've got adequate means of

subsistence for this period?

Well, now, let me see.

I, uh-I have with me 75 in cash

And a letter of credit

On the security trust company

Of providence, Rhode island.

My bank balance in the

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Claudine West

Claudine West (1890–1943) was a British novelist and screenwriter. She moved to Hollywood in 1929, and was employed by MGM on many films, including some of their biggest productions of the late 1930s and early 1940s. Many of the films she worked on were British-themed such as Goodbye, Mr. Chips and The White Cliffs of Dover. In 1942, West won an Oscar as one of the screenwriters of the highly-regarded World War II drama Mrs. Miniver. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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