How Green Was My Valley (1941)

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    Information from IMDb

    Plot Summary
    Life is hard in a Welsh mining town and no less so for the Morgan family.
    Seen through the eyes of the family's youngest,
    Huw, we learn of the family's trials and tribulations.
    Family patriarch Gwyllim and his older sons work in the mines,
    dangerous and unhealthy as it is.
    Gwyllim has greater hopes for younger son how to honor
    his hard working parents.
    Huw who has his own ideas on how to honor his father.
    Daughter Angharad is the most beautiful girl in the valley
    and is very much in love with Mr. Gruffydd who isn't sure
    he can provide her the life she deserves.
    Times are hard and good men find themselves
    out of work and exploited by unseen mine owners.
    Written by garykmcd

    Full Cast
    Walter Pidgeon .... Mr. Gruffydd
    Maureen O'Hara .... Angharad Morgan
    Anna Lee .... Bronwyn
    Donald Crisp .... Gwilym Morgan
    Roddy McDowall .... Huw Morgan
    John Loder .... Ianto Morgan
    Sara Allgood .... Beth Morgan
    Barry Fitzgerald .... Cyfartha
    Patric Knowles .... Ivor Morgan
    Welsh Singers .... Choral Group
    Morton Lowry .... Mr. Jonas
    Arthur Shields .... Mr. Parry
    Ann E. Todd .... Ceinwen (as Ann Todd)
    Frederick Worlock .... Dr. Richards
    Richard Fraser .... Davy Morgan
    Evan S. Evans .... Gwilym Morgan Jr.
    James Monks .... Owen Morgan
    Rhys Williams .... Dai Bando
    Lionel Pape .... C. Evans
    Ethel Griffies .... Mrs. Nicholas
    Marten Lamont .... Iestyn Evans
    Dennis Hoey .... Motschell (scenes deleted)
    Una O'Connor .... Undetermined Role (scenes deleted)
    Frank Baker .... (uncredited)
    Ruth Clifford .... Village Woman (uncredited)
    Minta Durfee .... Bit Part (uncredited)
    Herbert Evans .... Postman (uncredited)
    Mary Field .... Eve (uncredited)
    Pauline Garon .... Bit Part (uncredited)
    Mary Gordon .... Gossiper (uncredited)
    Gibson Gowland .... Bit Part (uncredited)
    Ben Hall .... Bit Part (uncredited)
    Louis Jean Heydt .... Miner (uncredited)
    Tiny Jones .... Mrs. Tossel (uncredited)
    Eve March .... Meillyn Lewis (uncredited)
    Mae Marsh .... Miner's Wife (uncredited)
    Harry McKim .... Child (uncredited)
    Lydia McKim .... Child (uncredited)
    Peggy McKim .... Child (uncredited)
    Irving Pichel .... Huw Morgan as an adult (voice) (uncredited)
    Clifford Severn .... Mervyn (uncredited)
    Tudor Williams .... Singer (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Richard Llewellyn (novel)
    Philip Dunne (screenplay)

    Arthur C. Miller

    This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1990.

    Plans to film in Wales were abandoned due to WWII; an 80-acre set was built in the Santa Monica Mountains at Brent's Crags, near Malibu. The design of the village was based on the real Cerrig Ceinnen and nearby Clyddach-cum Tawe in Wales.

    The film was shot in black and white because the color of flowers in Southern California did not match those found in Wales.

    Darryl F. Zanuck originally intended the film to be a four-hour epic to rival Gone with the Wind.

    William Wyler was all set to direct on location in Wales, and Laurence Olivier, Katharine Hepburn and Tyrone Power were all being courted for parts in the film.

    Two major factors entered into the decision to shoot the film in Southern California: (1) the continuous bombing of Britain by the Nazis; (2) the nervousness of Fox executives about the film's pro-union storyline. These factors, and William Wyler's reputation for perfectionism, swayed Fox to keep the filming done in the U.S.

    William Wyler went off to make The Little Foxes instead.

    It only took two months to make the film.

    Donald Crisp and Sara Allgood were always first choice to play the father and mother.

    Alexander Knox was Fox's first choice for the part of Dr Gruffyd, later played by Walter Pidgeon.

    John Ford referred to Philip Dunne's script as "nearly perfect a script as could be possible".

    For the scene where the miners greet their women by putting their earnings in baskets, actress Maureen O'Hara stopped the scene's filming once she noticed that her basket was a modern Kraft basket and not a basket of the movie's period. Director John Ford was so upset by being corrected in front of the cast and crew that he closed down the set and told O'Hara to wait on a nearby hill until he called for her. Fuming, O'Hara waited an hour before an assistant came to retrieve her but was satisfied to see that the basket had been changed upon her return.

    The songs sung by the male voices are all authentic Welsh. The song sung at the opening is "Men of Harlech".

    Darryl F. Zanuck paid $300,000 for the rights to the novel.

    Cyfartha's final line, "'Tis a coward I am, but I will hold your coat," was added by Ford himself over the objections of screenwriter Philip Dunne.

    When the movie was intended to be a four-hour epic Tyrone Power was going to play Huw as an adult.

    "Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on September 21, 1942 with Walter Pidgeon, Donald Crisp, Maureen O'Hara, Roddy McDowall and Sara Allgood reprising their film roles.

    "Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 31, 1947 with Donald Crisp again reprising his film role.

    "Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on September 28, 1954 with Donald Crisp again reprising his film role.

    "The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 22, 1942 with Sara Allgood, Donald Crisp, 'Roddy McDowall', Maureen O'Hara and Walter Pidgeon reprising their film roles performing with Rhys Williams.

    The author of the novel, Richard Llewellyn had claimed to have based the book on his own knowledge of the Gilfach Goch area, but this was proven false, as Llewellyn was English-born and spent little time in Wales. As it turned out, he had actually gathered his facts from conversations with local mining families.

    The title of the novel appears in two sentences. It is first used in Chapter XXX, after the narrator has just had his first sexual experience. He sits up to "look down in the valley." He then reflects: "How green was my Valley that day, too, green and bright in the sun." Needless to say, this sexual experience was cut out of the film. The phrase is used again in the novel's last sentence: "How green was my Valley then, and the Valley of them that have gone."

    The author continued the story about Huw Morgan's life in 3 sequels. 'Up into the Singing Mountain' (1960) in which Huw emigrates to Argentina; 'Down Where the Moon is Small' (1966), Huw's life in Welsh-speaking parts of Argentina; and 'Green, Green My Valley Now' (1975), in which Huw returns to Wales. None of these have been made into films, and 'How Green Was My Valley' is still the most consistently popular novel of the series.

    As well as this film, the book has twice been adapted by the BBC as a serial for television, in 1960 and 1975. The 1975 production - scripted by Elaine Morgan - starred Stanley Baker, Siân Phillips, and Nerys Hughes. It was also adapted as a Broadway musical, called A Time for Singing, which opened at the Broadway Theatre, New York, on May 21, 1966. The music was by John Morris; book and lyrics were by Gerald Freedman and John Morris. The production was directed by Mr. Freedman, and it starred Ivor Emmanuel, Tessie O'Shea, Shani Wallis, and Laurence Naismith.

    "How Green Was My Valley" famously beat Orson Welles 'Citizen Kane' to an Oscar.

    Continuity: When Roddy McDowall's character comes home after being beaten by his teacher, there is no blood or marks on his back.

    Errors in geography: Although a good effort is putting into making the locations look Welsh, the mountains sometimes seen in the background are too high for South Wales.

    Revealing mistakes: SPOILER: Gwilym Morgan's dead body is plainly breathing.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    20th Century Fox Ranch, Malibu Creek State Park - 1925 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas, California, USA (village set)
    Brent's Crags, California, USA
    Malibu, California, USA
    Santa Monica Mountains, Los Angeles, California, USA
    Stage 15, 20th Century Fox Studios - 10201 Pico Blvd., Century City, Los Angeles, California, USA (studio)

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 2 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • How Green Was My Valley is a 1941 drama film directed by John Ford.
    The film, based on the 1939 Richard Llewellyn novel,
    was produced by Darryl F. Zanuck and written by Philip Dunne.
    The film stars Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Anna Lee, Donald Crisp,
    and Roddy McDowall. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards,winning five
    and beating out for Best Picture such classics as Citizen Kane,
    The Maltese Falcon, Suspicion and Sergeant York.

    The film tells the story of the Morgans, a close, hard-working Welsh family
    at the turn of the twentieth century in the South Wales coalfield
    at the heart of the South Wales Valleys.
    It chronicles a socio-economic way of life passing and the family unit disintegrating.
    In 1990, How Green Was My Valley was selected by the
    Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry
    as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

    What a great film, I like this one,
    What with Awards: Won 5 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nomination what can you say!
    Filmed in Malibu, which is about as near as Wales, you can get!!!!!
    Indeed, there are some interesting facts in the trivia
    section, about this!

    Ford cast Maureen in this film, which created
    the friendship, which would result,
    in four more films, together.

    User Review
    Author: gbheron from Washington, DC


    John Ford's film of social and familiy change details the chilling effects hard economic times have on a large, but tight-knit Welsh coal mining family around the turn of the last century. Told in narrative flashback by the youngest of seven children (5 young men and a young lady) it begins when the coalmines are new, the valley still green, and the village cohesive and close-knit. As economic times worsen, the family and community fray and slowly disintegrate. The backdrop village becomes darker and smokier as the family fights valiantly to remain together. But unlike the treatment the story would probably get today, the family does not lose its dignity.

    There is not much, if anything, to criticize in this movie, it's one of the best ever.

    Co- starring with Maureen, were some great character actors,

    Click on for previous discussion,

    How Green Was My Valley

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited once, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Hello,
    I agree that this is a very good film and there were some fine actors in it. Unfortunately when working in England, at Brentford in Middlesex, I had the pleasure to work with a carpenter from the Rhondda. His father and other relations were also miners and he gave me many graphic accounts of life in those villages. The main reason he spoilt the film for me was that he able to pick up on lacations and accents. However I still enjoy this film and I hope that other people will get as much enjoyment as I have.

    RACMP - For the troops With the troops

  • This movie left you with a bad taste in your mouth. What I mean is that it was a movie that had you thinking like The Grapes of Wrath, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, The Passion of the Christ. Great movies but ones that you really don't want to see again because of the content.

    I've seen all these movies and think they are done well, but leaves me not wanting to see them again. They disturb me because I want to think better of people and not want to think that evil wins out.

    This movie was wonderfully done and know that Maureen, and the rest were excellent. John Ford captured this movie perfectly.

    Cheers B)


    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"

    - John Wayne quote

  • Hi Hondo,
    I have Grapes of Wrath, think that it is a really good movie, but watched it only two times. Sorry to figure that, but seems that you are right at this point, we try to run away from life in the movies, not to see it worse sides.
    Senta :rolleyes:

  • Have to admit that I delayed watching How Green is my Valley for quite awhile. It is an excellent movies and well worth watching. Donald Crisp has never been better in a movie and generally I do not like him as an actor. Despite all the talk in Maureen's book about this movie she has very little to do and was rightfully not nominated for an Oscar.

    I agree with Senta that both Grapes of Wrath and this movie are both Excellent.

    Whilst they have what could be decribed as depressing plots they both show the truimph of the human spirit over any adversity and with the strong storylines and acting displayed on both films they make them what they are.


  • This is his first film directed by John Ford, an endearing character, but very complex for her. No scene has been shot in Wales. The grandiose settings were implanted near Hollywood. This is not the greatest success for Maureen, but it comes close ...

    A short video

    and Original trailer

    Tell me if you have problems to read


    Unconditional's Maureen O'Hara !
    French-English translation: poor !!!

  • ............................ Some pictures from the film ............


    Unconditional's Maureen O'Hara !
    French-English translation: poor !!!

  • :wink_smile:

    Ethanedwards, what is the interest of this new link?

    It is more suitably placed in the new John Ford Forum,
    where it will attract more interest.
    It still appears in Maureen's Reviews
    but links back to here for continuity

    Best Wishes
    London- England