The White Cliffs of Dover (1944)

Genres - Romance, War  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Release Date - May 11, 1944 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 126 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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The White Cliffs of Dover undoubtedly struck very responsive chords with its audience when released in 1944. On a more modern take, Dover is decent entertainment, but the of-its-era tendency toward propaganda makes it less effective (and affecting) as a drama. The screenplay simply tries too hard, and the manipulations become wearing after a while, even though individual sequences are quite moving. Fortunately, Dover has an exceptionally fine cast, led by the perennially underappreciated Irene Dunne. Looking smashing, Dunne delivers one of her customarily sterling performances, one that calls upon her to move through a wide range of emotions which she does with ease. (One of Dunne's nicest qualities is that she does everything with ease, giving an effortlessness to her work that is a welcome relief from the show-stopping histrionics of more obvious performers.) Dunne gets very able support from the always-entertaining Frank Morgan, as well as from such marvelous players as Dame May Whitty and Gladys Cooper. Lumsden Hare and Clarence Brown direct with appropriate sensitivity, and Cedric Gibbons' and Randall Duell's designs are detailed and, when necessary, stunning. Dover is dated and goes on a bit too long, but Dunne makes it well worth the time.