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This Above All

This Above All(1942)

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In England, during early days of the Second World War, Prudence Cathaway, daughter of the aristocratic General Cathaway, announces to her snobbish family that she has joined the Women's Auxiliary Force. When the Cathaways balk at her decision, Prudence lectures them on their outdated values. At the WAAF training camp, Prudence befriends Violet Worthing, who soon fixes her up with Clive Briggs, an army friend of Violet's sweetheart, Joe. Unaware that Prudence is from aristocracy, Clive declares his distaste for all of England's upper class, but Prudence falls in love with him anyway. As their romance flourishes, Clive and Prudence go on their first military leave together, taking a seven-day vacation at the Dover Grand Hotel. In Dover, Prudence runs into her aunt Iris, but the two merely exchange unfriendly glances. Fearing that her aunt will tell her family about her affair with Clive and that she will be further ostracized by them, Prudence becomes distraught. Clive, too, begins to act strangely, yelling military orders in his sleep and becoming generally distracted. Later, when Prudence reads the telegram that seemed to trigger Clive's unusual behavior, she learns only that his friend Monty is coming to visit him. Prudence later learns that Clive deserted the army after being wounded at Dunkerque, and that Monty has come to return Clive to his regiment before he is officially listed as a deserter. Clive eventually confides in Prudence that he left the service because he disliked defending England's aristocracy. Prudence responds by giving Clive an impassioned lecture about the glory of England--a speech that brings tears to her eyes and drives Clive away. Clive sets out on foot but does not get far before a farmer, mistaking him for a spy, assaults him. The bloodied Clive takes refuge at a nurse's home, but the nurse learns that he is a suspected spy and threatens to call the police. Clive then seeks help from a clergyman, who lectures Clive on faith and inspires him to return to his regiment. Before turning himself in, however, Clive sends Prudence a message to meet him at Charing Cross so that they can be married. On his way to Charing Cross, though, Clive is arrested by military police and taken to headquarters. After pleading with his commander, Clive manages to secure a two-hour leave so that he can meet Prudence one last time. Clive's second attempt to get to Charing Cross in time to meet Prudence is stymied when he is wounded while rescuing a woman and her child from a burning building. Clive is rushed to a hospital, and as his life hangs in the balance, Prudence arranges an impromptu wedding. At Clive's bedside, a nurse, reading from Shakespeare's play Hamlet , says, "This above all: To thine own self be true," after which an air raid siren is heard and darkness descends on the room.