How Green Was My Valley - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

How Green Was My Valley Reviews

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½ August 25, 2016
The cinematography for this movie alone is enough to watch it. But it's a pretty weak story all in all, and the protagonist, played by Roddy McDowell, isn't very interesting to follow. Still, worth a glimpse into the life of Ol' Ireland.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2016
It definitely needed to be longer but the movie remains a deeply sad nostalgia piece that's filled with surprising complexity.
½ June 3, 2016
Eine Familiengeschichte, die Höhen und Tiefen erlebt, aus der Sicht vom kleinsten Sprössling erzählt. Die Familie Morgan lebt in einem kleinen Städtchen, das von einer Kohlenfabrik dominiert wird. Alle, die dort wohnen, gehen auch in der Fabrik arbeiten. Das Leben dort ist schwer und dreckig. Als dann einen Streik angezettelt wird, stellt sich Vater Morgan gegen den Mob. Seine älteren Brüder wollen dann ausziehen und der erste, schwere Bruch in der Familie entsteht.
Regisseur John Ford erzählt eine schöne Geschichte. Das man trotz schwierigen Verhältnisse, an die Familie glauben darf. Denn diese Geschichte könnte aus dem wahren Leben erzählt worden sein. Was der kleine Morgan alles durchmachen musste, und trotzdem bei der Familie wieder Halt gefunden hat, ist schön! Doch trotz dieser schönen Geschichte, fehlt es an Etwas. Das gewisse Kribbeln in den Fingern. Denn der Film wird wie nur abgespult, ohne ein bisschen Spannung einzubauen. Das fehlt leider ein bisschen.
Der Film bekam 1942 fünf Oscars. Darunter als bester Film. Diese Familiengeschichte, hat es wahrscheinlich an den Awards so angetan, dass die Familie als Erstes kommt. Donald Crisp bekam einen als bester Nebendarsteller. Ist verständlich. Denn so wie er den Familienoberhaupt spielte, war es eine beschlossene Sache für den Oscar. Regisseur John Ford bekam einen Regie Oscar. Obwohl dieser Film nicht so stark von ihm ist. Ich denke, seine Filme mit John Wayne hatten mehr Gewicht. Einen Oscar bekam das beste Set. Das finde ich schon Cool. Eine kleine Stadt aufzubauen mit dem Rauch einer Kohlenfabrik, dass sich noch im Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts abspielte. Das ist schon beeindruckend. Arthur C. Miller bekam noch einen Oscar für die beste Kamera.
Fazit: Eine gelungene und schöne Geschichte. Leider fehlt an manchen Stellen an Tiefe und an Spannung!
March 26, 2016
I enjoyed this movie of a hardworking Welsh family in a small town. Good wholesome movie.
½ March 9, 2016
Although it never should never have won against "Citizen Kane," it's still a pretty good movie.
August 17, 2015
SIGH... THIS is why we go to the movies! Just poignant! (And may I add, Maureen O'Hara is absolutely stunning!)

Absolutely deserved to beat Citizen Kane for Best Picture. A masterpiece. If you don't love this, you are what's wrong with the world.
½ July 29, 2015
Give the boy time and it will be him giving the beating.

The Morgan Family resides in a small mining town with three boys. The father works in the mines and it quickly becomes apparent the older son may too; however, there is hope for the younger son to elevate to something more. Can the family convince him to pursue this opportunity or will the boy be as stubborn as the rest in the family and work in the mine?

"Any man who was not their friend became their enemy."

John Ford, director of The Grapes of Wrath, Stagecoach, The Man who Shot Liberty Valance, The Quiet Man, and Young Mr. Lincoln, delivers How Green was My Valley. The storyline for this picture is very good and reminded me of The Grapes of Wrath in a lot of ways. The settings and writing was perfect as was the acting. The cast includes Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Anna Lee, Roddy McDowall, and Sara Allgood.

"If the right is mine to give, then you have it."

A preview for this aired on Movies! on Fios and I had to DVR it (the previews were awesome). The story is very good, intriguing, and a unique coming of age film that depicts a fascinating time in American history. I recommend giving this underrated classic a viewing.

"I never met anyone whose talk was better than good food."

Grade: A
July 15, 2015
Interesting look at life in Welsh coal-mining town in the early-1900s.

The story of a family, the Morgans, who live in a Welsh coal-mining town, told through the eyes of the youngest son, Huw (played by a 12-year old Roddy MacDowall). The father and four oldest sons all work in the colliery. Pretty much everything centres around the colliery - it is the life blood of the town, and the source of pain, ill-will and death. In addition, we see the relationships between the people in the town, how they develop and change.

An interesting drama, showing the social impact on a town when it is dependent entirely on a single industry. The relationship side is interesting too.

However, in trying to cover as much of what happens in the town as possible, there is a lack of focus. While the ending is reasonably profound, a much greater point could have been made. The landing is a bit soft.

Great performances all round.

How Green Was My Valley went on to win the 1942 Best Picture Oscar, beating out Citizen Kane (amongst others) to the award. Not that it is better: it can probably thank William Randolph Hearst's campaign against Citizen Kane for the award.
May 22, 2015
This is a very traditional film and we learn that right as the film begins and even its poster was the Oscar 'template' for its time, not like that had any bearing on whether or not it won, it's just noticeable. It has one of our main characters walk past Chapel as opposed to running past it to show respect, even if he runs past it later, and the overall film is very accessible. Saying that, this does feel like the kind of film that The Academy falls head-over-heels for and this might be one of the earliest cases of that.

The first clip I saw of this film was the boxer in the classroom hitting the other person in a very over the top way and I thought that this was going to be one of those old classic films that had a certain innocence to it that couldn't be replicated in any other time. But that was wrong as this is a very downbeat and gritty kind of film, which in turn makes that scene in the class look out of place as you can't just go up to people, in a school no less, and do that kind of thing. Although, he did seem to throw his hat a lot, which was funny. But the poverty was even worse in real life than as depicted here! The film has its humour which would be needed in that time, there was a scene very early on when someone puts water over someone with a pipe, and even if he was in a bath, would they do that? Also there was some unintentional humour, like when Mr. Gruffydd says to please remain seated and it didn't look like they were moving anyway. I really did get the feel of community in this film, (even if it seemed to be stereotyping only a little at the start), with everyone having to keep together to cheer each other up, especially with singing and the party scene where that person dropped the cake or the singing in the house, or at least as long as that lasts because even that has its breaking point.

Whilst they might have a huge community and relationships with one another, I remained very distant as I didn't feel anybody was really developed at all and I hardly remember anybody's name, it doesn't really help when most of them don't have names and are only called by their surname. The only name I knew was Huw and that was just because of the fact that everyone says it so much, like people would, I had to look up everyone else after the film was finished. The film seemed to skip too much of these people's lives whilst, ironically, having not much happen; I like a good, slow character driven piece but when you don't know the characters or care that much, what is there to grab onto? It also doesn't help that the story never really seemed to start either, after about 16 minutes it finally looked like it was going to stop with the monologues and get going but then it goes to 35 minutes and it just keeps happening. The film seemed to lack focus as well, as gathered from the overheard narration, Huw is meant to be the centre of the story but he didn't seem like he was that important in what was going on and there are many scenes where he isn't even in it and the cover has O'Hara and Pidgeon on it.

A story that is told by a single person doesn't necessarily have to have him in every scene as this is about a village, but the film didn't even seem like it was from his perspective, like I think was intended. What's worse is that Huw doesn't age at all making everything feel like the story takes place over a few months, but, for example, seeing how quickly the school storyline finishes, if it can so be called, that is clearly not it. I've read some theories that he is telling the story and imagining himself as a boy as a sign of the innocence of youth, but that just seems like an excuse to cover up a mistake. The only way to cover it up that he was getting older is that his hair is long when he is young but tidier when he is supposed to be older. It is just very bizarre to look at, we see a bunch of children fighting in the mine at one point and they are supposed to be older teenagers but it clearly isn't; they didn't even try to put makeup on his face to make him look any older. And good job that person in the mine didn't miss with that hammer when he was working with Huw.

I was never bored but the film slowed down even further around 45 minutes but soon after when Huw started school, things started to pick up as there was actual conflict and something was happening but it is over as soon as it is begun and that is pretty much the whole film. Each scene fades to black and the next one fades back in with black and it feels like a bunch of home movies of these people's lives pasted together and called a film. It's like we're watching these characters every so often over an extended period of time and we don't learn anything. While it is clear that a character is having distress with her marriage and that also showcases a progression of time, we don't know anything about that particular storyline, like most, so in turn it doesn't really mean anything to us. We see Mr. Gruffydd earlier on when the marriage ceremony is going on and he is in the background and walks off, so there is some intrigue there, but still, it's vaguely touched upon. Again, some could say as this film is supposed to be from Huw's perspective, so why would he know everything? But that is exactly my point, this film is muddled on what it wants to be and do. Even with Huw's own storyline of him having to walk again, seemed like it was a throwaway.

The script for this film is very good and the way the characters say the well written dialogue is just great to hear. I liked Mr. Gruffydd's talk with Huw about not believing the doctors, that was nice and when Huw talked about why did the mother have babies was innocent enough, I did expect a sly response by her though. There was also a conversation with Mr. Gruffydd with that horrible person that tells that person to leave the Chapel and I wondered if one said simple and the other said civil. There is a part where Huw is the only one left at the table and goes 'ahem' and it was a great scene, he said that to get acknowledgement he hadn't left but it's not like at his age he would have known. The acting in the film is good, even though there is a distinct lack of anyone even trying to put any effort in to doing an accent, a very small number at least try but it is distracting if you think about it. I spoke about the singing and the breaking point earlier but that applies to the audience as well, the singing makes sense but it just keeps happening more often and drones on and on. I thought I heard them singing 'God Save The Queen' earlier on in the film but later on they do actually sing it, which is odd, because how was that person who got that letter found?

But even the script has its odd moments, at one point the wife says she is going to do something and the husband says that he wants her to do something else and I could have sworn that he said, 'black eye it is, then', really? If that was what I think I heard it as, that is horrible. The film also seemed needlessly cruel, the aforementioned person who yells at the person to leave the chapel seemed a bit over the top and while teachers were indeed necessarily stricter back then, the way that person was behaving in particular seemed overboard. I understand these were harsh times but that's ridiculous. Putting out your hand for free money from the spending box seemed a bit rude, even if they said thank you, they should have said please as well, instead if just standing there with a smile. And good job he didn't hit the basket with the shortbread when his dad helped him up to leave the room. I don't know why the wife was out in the snow just to talk about her husband, you'd have thought she could have done that any other time, preferably indoors. And who would have actually heard Huw when he fell into the water off screen. When they say they're going to America and the father says to keep quiet, I expected the mother to say, ' you haven't heard my opinion on this', even though they were old enough to make up their own mind, you'd still expect the parents opposing opinion and try to get them to stay. It also looked like the dad sneezed when the other person came to his house to talk just to distract him, even though he had been sneezing earlier, as it seemed like he said something when he sneezed. And at the end it seemed odd to have people running in to see the injured when surely they would be running out trying to escape, I thought the film would end on a downbeat note with them going down to the mine but it ends with some hope, even if it looked like the dad was still breathing. And for a laugh, the makeup artist is called Guy Pearce.

This is certainly a well made production with good cinematography and music as well as effort by its cast but it seems too much of an ambitious project to fit all of the story's content into just an 1hr and 58 minute film. The film certainly has its heart in the right place and it is good for what it is but considering how much the book explains and how much content it has, this should have been much longer or maybe split into parts? I understand that most of the time sacrifices have to be made in the translation from book to film but sometimes it hurts it too much. As it is, 'How Green Was My Valley' is an interesting project for a film, and fitting for its time, as well as made pretty quickly after the book came out. However, it has become infamous over the years for its still shocking win over 'Citizen Kane', like I already explained my review of that and like countless others have, 'Kane' was under a lot of unjust controversy at the time, which explains why it wasn't exactly the favorite to win, but it's fun to look at in retrospect. However, it does speak volumes that a film is only remembered because of what it won against, things like, obviously, 'Citizen Kane', 'Sergeant York' and 'The Maltese Falcon', as opposed to its own artistic merits, which would go on to happen many more times in the future. Overall, it isn't like it is terrible, it's just the film could have been a lot more, but I do like the tagline quite a bit though, almost makes me feel bad for not liking the whole film.
½ March 6, 2015
One of How Green Was My Valley's biggest issues is that it doesn't follow the "show, don't tell" rule of filmmaking. The narrator is a tedious and overbearing presence for most of the film. A young Roddy McDowall gives a good performance as the young protagonist, Huw, but the rest of the characters and storylines feel bland and underdeveloped. Perhaps members of the Academy grew up working in the coal mines and got caught up in the nostalgia of this film, which is why they awarded it Best Picture, because there really doesn't seem to be another reason.
½ January 20, 2015
Portentosa en imà genes y una magistral direcciòn (es increìble como sabìa dirigir John Ford) este es un clà sico que nadie debe perderse.
December 18, 2014
Nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia - if it is that which tugs at your heartstrings greatly, then this film is more than suitable for you. If you find that sentiment corny (meaning, you are inhuman) then there's not too much else that will make you think this film saved.
December 7, 2014
How Green Was My Valley is quite slow, schmaltzy and not as memorable as John Ford's other films, but still it's a well-directed movie and the performances are solid.
October 3, 2014
While the film's themes are more relevant than ever and the acting superb, the reason why Ford beat upstart wunderkid Orson Welles is the same reason Robert Zemeckis' "Forrest Gump" would triumph over Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" in 1994. Ford and Zemeckis were safe mainstream while Welles and Tarantino challenged the audiences. This remains an Essential Classic, but like "Pulp Fiction," it got robbed at the Oscars.
October 1, 2014
The movie drags at times, but it's still a great old fashioned and tender story about family loyalty and respect.
August 24, 2014
The most depressing movie ever. Everyone is either miserable or dead by the end of it
½ August 11, 2014
It verges on the manipulativeness of Frank Capra, but John Ford tempers this with strong dramatic scenes presented in an unadorned fashion.
August 3, 2014
Beautiful film. Donald Crisp and Sara Allgood as the patriarch and matriarch of the Morgan clan turn in two of cinema's greatest performances. Walter Pidgeon as the preacher Mr. Gruffydd is inspiring, and a young Maureen O'Hara is beautiful and mesmerizing as always. Roddy McDowall gives one of the better child performances of the period, which is a good thing, because much of the film rests on his little shoulders, and he carries it well. This is without a doubt one of director John Ford's best works. Though "Citizen Kane" will forever remain the greatest and most important film of 1941, I now at least have an understanding of why the producers of this film walked away with the Oscars that night.
August 2, 2014
(First and only viewing - 2/22/2011)
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