How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Critic Consensus: Though it perhaps strays into overly maudlin territory, this working-class drama is saved by a solid cast and director John Ford's unmistakeable style.
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as Mr. Gruffydd
as Mr. Morgan
as Huw Morgan
as Mrs. Morgan
as Ivor Morgan
as Mr. Jonas
as Dr. Richards
as Davy Morgan
as Dai Bando
as Mr. Evans
as Mrs. Nicholas
as Meillyn Lewis
as Lestyn Evans
as Gwinlyn Morgan
as Owen Morgan
as adult Huw Morgan, Narrator
as Miners' Wife
Critic Reviews for How Green Was My Valley
Captures an idyll of youth that has been lost to the corrosive practices of modern business.
The acting is strong, and Arthur Miller's Oscar-winning photography gives the images a spooky luster, but a little bit of Ford's salt-of-the-earth piety goes an awfully long way.
Because his recollections ring true, they are certain to evoke a similar nostalgia in all but the most slab-sided of moviegoers.
How Green Was My Valley is one of the year's better films, a sure-fire critic's picture and, unlike most features that draw kudos from crix, this one will also do business.
Audience Reviews for How Green Was My Valley
A boy comes of age in a Welsh village. A sprawling, ambitious epic of a film, How Green Was My Valley wreaks of nostalgia, in the voice over, in the salt-of-the-earth characters, and the cursory treatment it gives its themes. While many of these nostalgia films achieve a universality, I found the characters ultimately unrealized and unexplored. For example, Angharad's love affair with the preacher, which is aborted by her marriage to an upper class man, is portrayed only slightly, and the next time we see her, she is miserable. But what about the interceding time? What about the preacher's life between then and now? Whereas a good epic like War and Peace leaves none of its main characters ignored, this one satisfies itself with episodic fragments. Overall, epics like this one are tricky, and I think director John Ford bit off more that he could chew.
If I'm not mistaken, this film is probably best remembered as the won that scored an upset victory over Citizen Kane at the Oscars by nabbing five out of the ten awards it was nominated for (the most signicant being best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography (black and white), and Best Art Direction (black and white). Donald Crisp also won for his acting, but that wasn't an upset over CK. The story here spans a few decades and concerns a working class mining family named the Millers in Wales in the early 20th Century in a small community going through significant change. The story is told from the perspective of the youngest Miller, Huw (a very young, but impressive Roddy McDowall). Maureen O'Hara plays his sister, and she's also quite good, but then again, when is she not? A lot of what goes on in the film is still relatable- socio economic change and hardships, and they affect they have on family life and dynamics, but, to be honest, as decent as this film is, it's not really all that special or significant. Ford has never made a film I haven't gotten some sort of enjoyment out of, but this is one of his weaker ones for me. Also,, I really start to lose interest after a while and become fidgety. The film never totally failed to lose my interest, but still, boredom began to set in. That aside, the performances are good, the cinematography is pretty nice, and the music (especially the music) is quite wonderful. This film isn't amazing, but it's still pretty decently made and an okay variation on a theme, despite its flaws.
Other than getting to see a young Roddy McDowall, there wasn't anything of interest in this movie. I did just watch the beginning, really, but it's a very long movie spanning 50s years of the character's life! And what a boring life it was. Maybe some people like these real life dramas, but not me.
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