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How Green Was My Valley (1941)

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Article 1

'How Green Was My Valley': A Film of the Novel

The Times (London), April 24, 1942 page 6

How Green Was My Valley, which has won many awards in America, will be seen at the New Gallery and the Marble Arch Pavilion on Monday. It is not difficult to understand the honours it has gained. There is no conscious playing-down of a story which was written, as Mr. Richard Llewellyn himself has said, as a "requiem for craftsmen," much of the acting has more than the polished mannerisms of the studios, the valley on the screen at times catches something of the tone and accent of the men who inhabited it in the book, and the voices of the Welsh singers are a continual delight.

And yet there remain so many disappointments, so much undone, that a much underrated film, Love on the Dole, which told a not dissimilar story, was at such loving pains to do. It is not so much that the accents vary from the rich Irish of Miss Sara Allgood through normal English-American to the authentic Welsh of Mr. Rhys Williams-- although proof that the matter is no detail is afforded by the astonishing was Mr. Williams, in a minor part, does something violent and illuminating to the film every time he speaks-- not that the rooms of the cottages seem altogether out of proportion to their exteriors. Mr. John Ford's direction is honest enough, but even while he is producing scene after scene which, on the surface, seem to give a reasonable picture of life in a Welsh mining village in the closing years of the last century, the feeling persists that his observation is not cutting deep enough. His pattern is too refined for the complex designs made by Welsh emotionalism and the brutality of the times, and the requiem for craftsmen remains unsung. Mr. Donald Crisp, as the head of the Morgans, mining family, a patriarch with a touch of the Old Testament about him, does much to keep the film steady and Miss Allgood, as his wife, gives it warmth and feeling. Mr. John Loder is the most interesting of the Morgan boys, while Mr. Walter Pidgeon, as a preacher, and Miss Maureen O'Hara conduct a love story which has no real roots in the valley with tact and discretion.

© 1942 The Times

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