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USA 1941
Directed by
John Ford
118 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

How Green Was My Valley

Based on the novel of the same name by Richard Llewellyn, How Green Was My Valley won five Academy Awards in 1941, including Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Donald Crisp), Best Art Director, Best Cinematography, and now infamously beating Citizen Kane for Best Picture.

Teh film follows the changing conditions of a Welsh mining family, the Morgans, headed by patriarch Gwilym (Crisp) and his wife (Sara Allgood), over a span of 50 years from the end of the 19th century.  The tale is told through the eyes of the youngest so,n Huw (Roddy McDowall). The family, including daughter, Angharad (Maureen O'Hara) and five other miner sons (John Loder, Patric Knowles, Richard Fraser, Evan S. Evans and James Monks) survive a lengthy miner's strike, two fatal mining accidents, illness, Angharad's failed marriage (conjoined after the local minister, played by Walter Pidgeon, is too tardy in asking for her hand) and the men leaving for a better life as gradually times change and the old ways die.

The film is a quality production that aspires to capture the larger realities of human life within the compass of its smaller events and whilst being highly sentimentalized in the Fordian manner, it works. A better picture than Citizen Kane however, it is not.




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