Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Coves and Caves (1920)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Morning on a deserted Porth Beach. In the dark Cathedral Cave a man fishes for shrimp. The surface of a pool by the caves is disrupted by splashes that seem to come from nowhere. A title hints there are mermaids in these waters, but the 'mermaid' is revealed to be the reflection of a woman sitting on the bank, who is causing the splashes by throwing stones into the pool. A woman approaches the entrance of the large cave known as the 'Banqueting Hall' and enters. It is revealed that there are two entrances to this cave and that between them 'is where you hold hands'. A woman waits at one of the entrances. Another woman walks through a passage between some caves in daylight.

An infant sits in front of a mill that is suddenly thrust into motion by a rush of water. The infant is now enraptured by the spinning wheel. A woman walks through an idyllic woodland area beside a stream in the Allan Valley. The setting sun illuminates the fast-moving clouds over the cliffs. The cliffs and lighthouse of Trevose Head are viewed from the sky in daylight.

A herd of deer wanders the grounds of Prideaux Place stately home. A dog balances daisies on its nose and paws, but soon runs away. Many boats lie dormant in the dry harbour at Padstow. Local workers sedately lead a milk cart along a street by Padstow church. Boys and girls walk together down the street. A bridge at Wadebridge passes over the River Camel, which is currently drained of its water. The Old Celtic Cross stands tall in a cemetery in St Teath, surrounded by gravestones. The harbour around Boscastle is quiet, with only a few visitors taking in the views of the caves and the waters. A duck washes itself in a stream before fishing for food. Light shines upon the sea at dusk.