Last night's #FridayFilm was:
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
The story of the Morgan family who live in a South Wales mining village around 1880. Their lives, loves, financial hardships & religious struggles are told through the eyes of the youngest son, Huw.
A very entertaining and sometimes poignant story showing the highs & lows of a close-knit family & community. Fantastic performances from the leads, great cinematography, superb direction.
Go see it.
HGWMV tackles various themes including: family, religion, socialism, environmentalism & sex. It manages to handle all of these topics deftly, and I suspect some viewers won't realise they have just received a message.
During one scene the sons confront their father about the mine owner cutting the workers wages. The father accepts the mine owner's position, the sons support forming a union. The short scene is the clearest justification for workers taking collective action I have ever seen.
The film is superbly directed by John Ford, and the cinematography by Arthur Miller is very atmospheric.
All the leads put in superb performances, especially: Donald Crisp as the father, Maureen O'Hara as the daughter, Walter Pidgeon as the preacher and most of all a very young Roddy McDowall as Huw.
HGWMV was nominated for 10 Oscars & won Best Director, Best Cinematography, & Best Supporting Actor. It also won Best Picture beating Citizen Kane. Is it better than CK? Make your own decision.
Last comment on How Green Was My Valley.
The film also has an environmental message, evident from the title and the opening sequence. The film starts with Gwilym, the father, taking Huw for a walk in the valley. The older Huw acts as narrator ans says:
"In those days the black slag, the waste of the coal pits, had only begun to cover the side of our hill, not yet enough to mar the countryside, nor blacken the beauty of our village."
I should think you would find many parallels. Even when there isn't a direct connection, human endeavours often develop in similar ways. Also, it is likely that some who came from European mining areas ended up in US mining areas.
Another book I have often meant to read is "The Citadel". That book was published two years prior to HGWMV, and was a huge international success. I wonder if that inspired Richard Llewellyn.
I've only seen the 1938 film and I remember it as being really good. However, that must've been twenty years ago. Robert Donat & Rosalind Russell are in it, so that is a good sign.
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