Author Topic: How Green Was My Valley (1941)  (Read 2520 times)

Offline Antares

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How Green Was My Valley (1941)
« on: May 18, 2010, 12:36:25 AM »
How Green Was My Valley

Year: 1941
Film Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox
Genre: Drama, Classic
Length: 118 Min.

John Ford (1894)

Philip Dunne (1908)...Screenwriter
Richard Llewellyn (1906)...Original Material By

Darryl F. Zanuck (1902)

Arthur C. Miller (1895)

Alfred Newman (1901)...Composer

Walter Pidgeon (1897) as Mr. Gruffydd
Maureen O'Hara (1920) as Angharad
Anna Lee (1913) as Bronwyn
Donald Crisp (1882) as Mr. Morgan
Roddy McDowall (1928) as Huw
John Loder (1898) as Ianto
Sara Allgood (1879) as Mrs. Morgan
Barry Fitzgerald (1888) as Cyfartha

       I must admit that I’ve never been too enamored with most of John Ford’s films, as I find them to be a little hokey and formulaic, especially the westerns he made with John Wayne. My exceptions to this view are the two films he made in the beginning of the forties, The Grapes of Wrath and the movie I’m now reviewing, How Green Was My Valley. When making films that told of the plights and struggles of the common man, Ford would ascend above his usual penchant for corny storytelling and create works of divine inspiration.

       Huw Morgan (Narrator) “Memory...Strange that the mind will forget so much of what only this moment has passed, and yet hold clear and bright the memory of what happened years ago; of men and women long since dead.”

       In How Green Was My Valley we are given insight into the day-to-day struggles of a family of coal miners from a Welsh village in the latter part of the 19th century. The patriarch of the family Gwilym Morgan (Donald Crisp) is a man of devout faith and a believer in the hierarchy of the class system of the times. He is a strong man who puts his family before all others, and upon whose broad shoulders is thrust the burden of maintaining a decent living for himself and his offspring. His adherence to the status quo will cause his family to splinter apart as two of his sons realize that the world is changing and their father’s beliefs are not in their best interest, and thus they decide to leave for America. Another member of the family will also have her life changed due in part to her father’s antiquated convictions. Angharad (Maureen O’Hara) is a striking, raven haired beauty who is in love with the local preacher Mr. Gruffydd (Walter Pidgeon), who is likewise in love with her, but as yet, has not made his intentions known. When a representative of the mine owner’s son, who has professed his attraction to Angharad, approaches Gwilym he decides that a marriage between the two will benefit not only her, but also his future descendents. In holding to the custom of the time he forsakes his only daughter to a loveless marriage which she, as the obedient daughter, will blindly abide by.

       Nominated for 10 Academy Awards and winning for Best Picture, Director, B&W Cinematography, Sound Recording and Supporting Actor (Crisp), this film will always be remembered as the film that beat out Citizen Kane for the coveted statuette. Was it the best film of the year? Hell no, but it is an excellent portrayal of the times and society's class tier prejudices in which the story takes place.

Review Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 12:02:03 AM by Antares »