May 14, 1942 [This Above All]

First he writes Lassie Come-Home, now This Above All: Eric Knight wants hearts of gold--and his timing is perfect. But it's the latter that comes first to the movies, with Joan Fontaine shining like a soft and attentive sun, while Tyrone Power's Englishman without an English accent tries to conscientiously object to a war that sickened then broke his brave heart at Dunkirk. But accent or not, Powers serves well his reasonable cynic, calm as he sheds former convictions and wanders around England trying to replace them--in the process finding things worth saving--literally, as he dives into the bombed and blazing building ro rescue the trapped family, not thinking any more, just acting--he thought he could call it "feeling," but it seems he reserves that for Fontaine--who halts the picture to tell him, indirectly and then straight on, what England means. And the times are so exhausting tears suddenly welled in my eyes as she spoke, her chin as strong as--no, stronger than last year, when she had to face her Suspicion about Cary Grant.

But no matter how beautiful she is, the movie itself deepens her, and Powers, and every faraway flare of German bombs--the war bathed in a rich darkness, like Eden at twilight, the flaming sword distant in the east, driving them out of Paradise. It's only cinematography, I know, but such a sight they've given us: somber and uncertain, but still alive.


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