How Green Was My Valley

How Green Was My Valley

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A man looks back on his life as a boy in a small Welsh mining town. His reminiscences reveal the disintegration of his closely knit family, while capturing the sentiments and issues of the time.

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h
hd683
Feb 23, 2016

One of the most beautifully-shot films I have seen in recent memory: the cinematography boasts the efforts of German Expressionism along with the rugged industrialism of Early Century Ireland. The photography alone in the movie is enough to catapult this film to a four-star rating, along with John Ford's measured direction. The story from the point of view of the coming-of-age boy in a Welsh town is displayed effortlessly from each angle and shot. The town that these people live in also takes on a life of its own, with its rows of shops and houses ascending into the heavenly but dark skies above. I could go on about the richness of the look of the film, but that's because I rarely see a film that can tell its story with just the camera alone; the film is shot like an early talkie, or a Russian Propagandist film. One of the few drawbacks I had, and it is actually quite a big one that would prevent me from giving it a five-star rating is the protagonist, played by Roddy McDowell: the camera loves him to death but I never felt like it was for any real glimpse into his life, or his feelings, but for the sake of a forced mood of innocence. Mcdowell's character is also not given much of an arc, and that is problematic since we watch it through his eyes. All in all, however, the film is still re-deemable throughout.

j
JeanieG
Feb 14, 2014

This is and was an amazing film. There is a lot of history associated with it. WWII affected some aspects of it. It took a while for me to get used to some of the production since it is quite different from films made today. But it is definitely worth watching.

m
Monolith
Jan 11, 2013

A profoundly sentimental narrative from John Ford and Darryl Zanuck, of a simple culture's struggles in dealing with the inevitable onset of industrialization. A tragic story of a resilient, impoverished working class people, covered in blood, sweat, and soot, with real values and real hardships; and also the wherewithal to solidly withstand the bleakness of their depressing circumstances, and actually even sing in unison and harmony as they proudly march off to and from their low paying daily drudgery. Incredible. Nominated for ten Oscars, and winning six. One being the exquisite black and white cinematography, which was absolutely breathtaking. Twelve year old Roddy McDowall was a remarkable young actor; very mature. I'd place Maureen O'Hara up against any 'beauty queen' either then or now. The woman was stunning. This film completely galvanized my admiration for Ford's work. I am astounded at the poignant beauty and heart he communicated in a way like no other director I can think of. This beat out "Citizen Kane" for Best Picture. And to paraphrase Peter Bogdanovich: "Kane came from the head, and How Green Was My Valley came from the heart." A masterwork. FIVE STARS.

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m
Monolith
Jan 11, 2013

Huw Morgan (narrating): "Everything I ever learnt as a small boy came from my father, and I never found anything he ever told me to be wrong or worthless. The simple lessons he taught me are as sharp and clear in my mind as if I had heard them only yesterday."

m
Monolith
Jan 11, 2013

Huw Morgan (narrating): "...My mother was always on the run. Always the last to start her dinner, and the first to finish. Where as my father was the head of our house, my mother was its heart."

m
Monolith
Jan 11, 2013

Mr. Gruffydd: "Ianto -- why do you think we at the chapel talk rubbish?" Ianto Morgan: "My remark was not aimed at you." Mr. Gruffydd: "Then aim it." Ianto Morgan: "Very well. ...Because you make yourselves out to be shepherds of the flock... And yet you allow your 'sheep' to live in filth and poverty... And if they try and raise their voices against it, you calm them by telling them their suffering is the will of God. Sheep, indeed. ARE WE SHEEP TO BE HERDED AND SHEARED BY A HANDFUL OF OWNERS?!? ...I was taught Man was made in the image of God -- not a sheep."

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