The White Cliffs of Dover Film Details
Overview: Susan travels with her father to England for a vacation. Invited to a ball, Susan meets Sir John Ashwood and marries him after a whirlwind romance. However, American Susan never quite adjusts to life as a new member of the British gentry.
Tagline: The greatest love story of our time !
Review: It’s strongly based on the 1940 lyrical novel by American Alice Duer Miller, simply called “The White Cliffs”. Ironically, I couldn’t find any indication that Alice ever visited England! She was a noted writer, some of which related to the women’s suffrage movement of the early 20th century. She died in 1942: 2 years before this film was released………About the same time, another American, Nat Burton, wrote the lyrics to “(There’ll be Bluebirds over) The White Cliffs of Dover”, and his compatriot Walter Kent composed the music. Unfortunately, unlike parts of the US, England lacks wild bluebirds! Also, I could find no indication that either ever visited England! (I guess the Brits were too busy dodging Nazi bombs and V1s to compose such a song!). During the war, Kent also composed the music for the sentimental winter holiday standard: “I’ll be Home for Christmas”. I’m double shocked that this film doesn’t include this title song!! Incidentally, Brit Vera Lynn, who sang probably the most popular version during the war, died just a few months ago, at the ripe old age of 103!……….Getting back to the film, Irene Dunne ironically plays Susan Dunn(no ‘e’): the young American woman who visits England with her father, superbly played by charismatic Frank Morgan(think ‘the wizard’ in “The Wizard of Oz”). Handsome, aristocratic, Alan Marshall plays Sir John Ashwood, who finally convinces a reluctant Susan to marry and remain in England, her father returning to the States just after she decides. This union may be thought of as symbolizing the coming alliance of America and the UK in WWI and WWII. WWI soon begins, and Sir John enlists as an officer in the army. Letters from him arrive regularly until near the war’s end. Then, Susan receives a telegram announcing that Sir John has been killed in action.(your first cry). However, he has left behind a small son: John Jr., later played as a half grown boy by Roddy McDowell. When John rides his horse to the Kenny’s, he encounters 10 Y.O. Elizabeth Taylor: not yet a beauty. She tries to flirt with him during their 2 meetings, and then is seen no more……….A young Peter Lawford plays John Jr., as a young man. Susan takes him for an extended sojourn in the US, where her father is still living, to absorb some American culture and history. Unfortunately, the beginnings of WWII are upon them, soon after their return. John Jr. soon enlists, despite the strong misgivings of his mother. Sure enough, not long after, he is sent home, badly wounded. The film(viewable for free at YouTube) ends with him haltingly conversing with his mother, while in a hospital bed. In the last scene, he closes his eyes, stops talking, and his head droops to the side.(your second cry). I’m not positive if this means he dies or is just weary from talking………..Surely, many other women in Europe and America suffered the pain of losing a husband in WWI, and a son in WWII………A few of the other players will be mentioned: Van Johnson had a small part. Gladys Cooper served as Sir John’s mother. C. Aubrey Smith was the old guy with the bushy eyebrows who played chess with Frank Morgan, with whom he got into an argument about certain details of The War of 1812.
Language: English, French, German
Duration: 126 min
Genre: Drama, Romance, War
Also known as: The White Cliffs of Dover,Белые скалы Дувра,Las rocas blancas de Dóver,Doverin valkeat kalliot,Dovers vita klippor,Weiße Klippen,Evocação,Evocación,ドーヴァーの白い崖,Les Blanches Falaises de Douvres,Le bianche scogliere di Dover,As Rochas Brancas de Dover,Bílé útesy doverské,Die weißen Klippen,Oi lefkoi vrahoi tou Dover,Dover fehér sziklái,White Cliffs of Dover,Dovers hvite klipper