This Above All (1942)

Genres - Drama, Romance, War  |   Sub-Genres - Message Movie, War Romance, War Drama  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Wartime romance rarely is more attractive than in This Above All, a wonderfully entertaining film, even if it ends up paying little more than lip service to the serious issues it raises. These issues include class consciousness and the morality of war, and while it's a shame that they are not explored with greater depth, this doesn't detract from the film's effectiveness as a romantic drama. Under Anatole Litvak's astute and assured direction, Above moves along with grace and style. The director allows the audience to get to know and care about the characters and their situation and provides appropriate distraction so that some of the less credible plot gimmicks never intrude upon the viewer's enjoyment. Of course, a film of this sort really depends upon its stars for its effectiveness, and Above is especially blessed in this department. Joan Fontaine gives one of the finest performances of her career, clearly relishing the role and the opportunities it gives her to be noble, sacrificing, anguished, and in love, and looking simply radiant throughout. Tyrone Power also turns in some of his finest work, enjoying the chance to play a role that, while it takes advantage of his matinee idol looks, is not entirely defined by them. He is moving, powerful, and totally convincing, saving a few moments that are in danger of becoming sappy. Throw in some gorgeous sets and costumes and cinematography that lovingly dotes upon the stars while still servicing the story, and the result is a lovely, satisfying romance.