Friday, April 9, 2010

How Green Was My Valley (1941)

At the turn of the century in a Welsh mining village, the Morgans raise coal-mining sons and hope their youngest will find a better life. [imdb]

Nominated for 10 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: John Ford (WINNER)
Best Supporting Actor: Donald Crisp (WINNER)
Best Supporting Actress: Sara Allgood
Best Writing, Screenplay
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White (WINNER)
Best Original Score
Best Editing
Best Art Direction, Black-and-White (WINNER)
Best Sound

The 14th Best Picture winner is How Green Was My Valley, an old fashioned movie with a nice beginning but overall an uninteresting story. It remains one of the most infamous winners, not really because of its lack of quality (I'm sure most who comment the 1941 race haven't even seen it), but because of the high profile contenders: The Little Foxes, The Maltese Falcon and, most of all: Citizen Kane. Kane is overrated, but it's still a fascinating film, so I guess How Green Was... won due to John Ford's popularity.
As I said, it has a good start, with a documentary-like touch about the miners and a rougher perspective on the action. But it slowly turns into sentimental nonsense: the "love story" is ignorable and the character become more and more boring or annoying. This loooong film is lifted up a bit by a great child performance from Ruddy McDowall, the best acting of the film. Donald Crisp gives an ok performance, but not good enough for winner level.
My rating for the film: 6/10. I didn't care about it once it was over. Except for the kid. And Citizen Kane should've indeed won.


  1. Oh gosh you're going to hate me but I actually prefer this to Citizen Kane :D it's been a really long time since I've seen either though.

  2. Never seen this, but from what I saw of Citizen Kane, I thought it was a dragging bore. Off-topic, but why didn't you like Judy Garland's performance in A Star Is Born?

  3. I'm with Robert on this one, I prefer this to Citizen Kane...there are times I actively dislike that movie.

    The Little Foxes and The Maltese Falcon both give HGWMV a run for its money as my favourite, though.

  4. my my, not a lot of love for Citizen Kane :P

    Joe, I think Garland's in overpraised.