The Corn Is Green (1945)





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In this 1945 filmization of Emlyn Williams' semi-autobiographical 1938 play +The Corn is Green, Bette Davis steps into the role originated on Broadway by Ethel Barrymore. Davis plays Miss Moffat, a turn-of-the-century schoolteacher in a Welsh mining town. She has opened her own school in hopes of lowering the town's illiteracy rate, thus enabling the younger residents to seek out more fulfilling lives than merely sweating away in the mines until they drop. She runs into a great deal of resistance from mine-owner Nigel Bruce, who realizes that as soon as the citizens can read and write, they'll rebel against his benevolent despotry. Even Miss Moffat concludes that her mission is hopeless until she is visited by young miner John Dall, who wants to know "what is behind all those books". Within two years, Dall has made so much progress that he has qualified for Oxford. A last-minute snag involving Dall's illegitimate child is solved when Miss Moffet herself agrees to adopt the baby so that her student can complete his education. Emlyn Williams himself came from a backward mining town, and was himself inspired to better things by a compassionate schoolteacher; the pregnancy angle was (probably) added to provide the story with a third act. The Corn is Green was remade for television in 1978, with Katharine Hepburn as Miss Moffat. Watch for one amusing gaffe in the original: despite carefully setting up the premise that the villagers are illiterate, they are shown hovering around a poster and reading it out loud in an early scene.
Classics , Drama
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Warner Bros. Pictures

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Bette Davis
as Miss Lilly Moffat
John Dall
as Morgan Evans
Joan Lorring
as Bessie Watty
Nigel Bruce
as The Squire
Rhys Williams
as Mr. Jones
Rosalind Ivan
as Mrs. Watty
Mildred Dunnock
as Miss Ronberry
Gwyneth Hughes
as Sarah Pugh
Billy Roy
as Idwal Monris
Thomas Louden
as Old Tom
Arthur Shields
as William Davis
Leslie Vincent
as John Owen
Robert Regent
as Rhys Norman
Tony Ellis
as Will Hughes
Elliott Dare
as Glyn Thomas
Robert Cherry
as Dai Evans
Gene Ross
as Gwilym Jones
George Mathews
as Trap Driver
Brandon Hurst
as Lewellyn Powell
David Hilary Hughes
as Miners in Bar
Herbert Evans
as Miners in Bar
Billy Evans
as Miners in Bar
David Hughes
as Miners in Bar
John Dehner
as Welshman
Robert Cory
as Miners in Bar
Rhoda Williams
as Wylodine
Sarah Edwards
as Mrs. Watty's Friend
Margaret Hoffman
as Militant Corps woman
Leonard Mudie
as Station Master
Adeline de Walt Reynolds
as Old Woman Reading
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Critic Reviews for The Corn Is Green

All Critics (3)

Irving Rapper's screen version of Emlyn Williams semi-autobiographical play is well acted by Bette Davis as the spinster-teacher, but is too theatrical, sentimental and conventional.

Full Review… | January 5, 2012

Quote not available.

February 13, 2004
Las Vegas Review-Journal

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March 7, 2001

Audience Reviews for The Corn Is Green

Strong film adaptation of changing the culture of a small mining village into a place where schooling is not only appreciated but expected. Strong performance by Bette Davis, playing older than she was. Also watch Nigel Bruce, playing a character nearly as bright as his Dr. Watson character. Nigel is reflects the town character - and what a character he is. Good plot twists that were likely common "back in the day".

Christopher Bergan
Christopher Bergan

Irving Rapper's screen version of Emlyn Williams semi-autobiographical play is well acted by Bette Davis as the spinster-teacher, but is too theatrical, sentimental and conventional.

Greg Wood
Greg Wood

I Love this Movie.Miss Moffet changes the literacy of a reluctant Miner Town, & even some of the some of the Elders (who once opposed her) come to her to read & write.She changes Lives, Stone Hearts, & makes a mark on this Welsh Towns thinking & customs, & in particular one exceptional student.

Marilee Aschwanden
Marilee Aschwanden

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