This Above All

Synopsis: Although she comes from an aristocratic family, beautiful Prudence Cathaway defies convention by joining the WAAFs and becoming romantically involved with an AWOL soldier.
Genre: Drama, Romance, War
Director(s): Anatole Litvak
Production: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 nominations.
110 min

Hello. Yes, this is Upper Walsham 3,

Cathaway manor house.

Dinner's ready, Mr. Parsons.

Yes? Oh, yes, Miss Prudence,

did you want to speak to the general?

Very good, Miss Prudence.

You must please be more careful

with the blackout curtains, Mary.

Miss Prudence will be a little late.

At 6:

this evening in the forest of Compigne...

an armistice was signed

between France and Germany.

The resistance of France

has ended.

Her surrender is absolute.

Her fall, complete.

In Berlin tonight, a government

spokesman declared...

that the conquest of Britain by the end

of September is now definitely assured.

He pointed out that the channel

between Dover and Calais...

is a mere seven minutes flying distance.

That's one good thing about the wireless-

You can always turn it off.

- Some sherry, Mrs. Dexter?

- Thank you.

It's all so unreal and terrible.

It's that announcer fellow that annoys me. He

talks as if he had a mouthful of golf balls.

It's wonderful that

he can be so cheerful...

when he has to tell us

such awful things.

- Dinner is served, sir.

- Oh, thank you, Parsons. Thank you.

- Miss Prudence telephoned, sir. She said she'd be a little late.

- Oh. Is Dr. Roger in yet?

- Not yet, sir.

- We'll give him another five minutes.

Why, Roger, you certainly keep

late hours nowadays.

Oh, hello, Willfred.

Good evening, everybody.

- I'm sorry. I hope I haven't kept you waiting.

- That's all right, Roger.

How do you do, Vicar, Mrs. Malcolm?

Your hospital must be getting

some pretty bad cases.

They're sending the worst straight

to the west country.

Most of ours are shock exposures.

When men haven't slept for days on end, you

have to teach them how to close their eyes.

- Heard the news this evening?

- Yes. Oh, thank you, Parsons.

Well, we know now

where we stand, don't we?

Napolon conquered the whole of Europe,

but he never touched England.

Napolon didn't have

15,000 bombers.

Well, there's no need

for us to get excited.

- Don't you think perhaps it's time we did get excited?

- Why, Roger, please!

Do you know what our enemies

say every night in their prayers?

They say, "Please, God, keep the English

from getting excited for one more year...

and we shall never need

your help again. "

Oh, for goodness sake.

Let's talk about something cheerful.

Oh, come on now.

We've never had jitters in this old house...

and we're not going

to start this evening.

Roger's right. We know where we stand now,

and thank heaven for that.

Now let's go in

before the soup gets cold.

He's really looking remarkably well when you

think of all the hard work he's been doing.

- Will you have coffee in here, sir, or in the library?

- In the library, Parsons.

- Port?

- No, thank you.

- Parsons.

- Yes, sir?

- Did Miss Prudence tell you what had delayed her?

- No, sir.

Your her father, Roger. It's no concern

of mine, but if you want my opinion...

Prudence is not behaving

in a manner befitting her position.

Yesterday afternoon, she took Bert Higgins,

the gardener, for a drive in her car...

instead of attending

Lord Evesham's charity party.

Bert Higgins is convalescing.

I took out his appendix last month.

Well, that doesn't confer

special privileges.

I remember taking out

Lord Evesham's appendix a year ago.

Do you know it was

exactly like Bert's?

Yes, that's a ridiculous argument.

We don't shake hands with each other's

appendixes. Or is it appendices?

I'm not against equality.

I'm perfectly prepared

to be equal with anybody...

providing they don't start

being equal with me.

Grandfather, I'm terribly sorry.

I know I'm awfully late.

- That's all right.

- Good evening, everybody. Do you mind if I don't change?

Of course not. We thought

you'd been captured...

by one of those

German parachute fellows.

Bring Miss Prudence

her dinner, Parsons.

- What have you been up to?

- I got delayed in Gosley. I had so many things to do.

- Things to do in Gosley?

- Yes, I had my hair done and-

You mean you drove 15 miles

in wartime to have your hair done?

Oh, I had a lot of other things

to do at the same time.

I did some shopping, and I had my hair done,

and then I joined the WAAFs.

You joined the what?

The WAAFs-

the Women's Auxiliary Air Force.

We hadn't even heard

you'd applied for a commission.

Oh, I didn't apply for a commission.

I joined the ranks.

My dear Prudence, why on earth

didn't you tell me?

I could have arranged

for you to be an officer.

But I don't want to be an officer

till I've learned to be a private.

Are you aware that Annie Smith,

who scrubs the schoolhouse floors...

joined the WAAFs as a private?

Yes, I told her she ought to.

For generations, the Cathaways have

been leaders, Prudence, not followers.

In joining this woman's army, you are

throwing aside certain, shall I say...

traditions that have always

entitled the Cathaways to lead.

Quite possibly she was

thinking of something else.

What exactly are you

suggesting, Aunt Iris?

I'm suggesting nothing, my dear. I'm merely

facing the fact that some of you girls of today...

would do almost anything

in the world to be different.

You think it clever to be different,

even at the expense of your own family.

When you and Uncle Willfred talk,

I seem to hear words...

oozing from the holes

of a moth-eaten sofa.

- Prudence, remember where you are.

- I do remember where I am!

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R.C. Sherriff

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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