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How Green Was My Valley

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MissGoddess
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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby MissGoddess » October 20th, 2011, 5:30 pm

I hope to hear how you both enjoy Llewellyn's book. I read most of Lawrence when I was younger, too. One that I particularly remember liking was Kangaroo, set down under.
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charliechaplinfan
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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby charliechaplinfan » October 21st, 2011, 6:04 am

Kangaroo is one I haven't read yet. I love his prose, he has a way with language that needs to be absorbed, there's so much in his writing. I'm going to download the book of HGWMV today.
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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby JackFavell » October 21st, 2011, 9:05 am

Apparently there's a movie of Kangaroo, I'd love to see it.

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charliechaplinfan
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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby charliechaplinfan » October 23rd, 2011, 8:40 am

I'm nearly half way through the HGWMV book and how I love it. It's so interesting to see how it got the Hollywood treatment and what was left intact, what was merged (ie it happened but to another character or is abridged slightly) and what was disregarded. Reading it I have more respect for the film and what it achieves. For instance, the scene when the boys leave the house and Huw is left at the table with his father, that is taken intact from the book but the book does not have the power that the actor's bring to this scene, to read Donald Crisp and Sarah Allgood faces, it's poetry in motion, to paraphrase a song. The family is picked off the pages and brought directly to the screen with no changes to their characters albeit the family is larger and Huw isn't the youngest.

The squalor is more apparent in the novel, it creeps over the countryside during Huw's childhood taking over more and more. Huw's accident keeps him inside for a couple of years and what he sees when he goes out is a transformation of his village, it's being swallowed. The book is told by the adult, in the house his parent's left him, saying goodbye to this most loved place of memories, he can only gather up his mother's shawl and little bits and pieces. The slag is at the wall, soon to swallow and overtake the whole house, eventually burying everything but leaving the house intact inside but swallowed never to seen again.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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JackFavell
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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby JackFavell » October 24th, 2011, 8:45 am

Oh my goodness, you've described it so well I feel like I'm inside the book. I definitely have to make time to read it.

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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby charliechaplinfan » October 24th, 2011, 10:30 am

I'm completely captured by it, it fleshs out what was brought to the screen, there are more complexities, a two tier village, the older residents but an underclass who come along willing to take jobs and do the menial work who just don't hold standards. There is a murder of a child and retribution sanctioned by the preacher. Mr Gruffydd is 40 whilst Angharad is 18, there is only 4 years between Angharad and Huw. The union is interwoven too, the film gives a real good flavour of the book yet leaves enough to be discovered.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby charliechaplinfan » October 27th, 2011, 12:54 pm

I finished reading HGWMV, it's a book with many characters and twists and turns, the film lifts some of it from the pages, muddles it up a little to make a flowing narrative of a long and complex text. The adaptation is very skillful and although I still stand by the fact that Ford's houses were too big to support the 'filth and squalor' this is a theme that is built up in the book. The cottages are the original buildings but as the mine grows bigger, working practices are governed by the economies of the striking men, to give the men the wages they demand the slag has to be disposed of up top, causing slag heaps to spring up all over the valley. The Morgan's and Mr Gruffyd are the voice of reasonable demands in Huw's youth with the owners but as the valley and mine mature the disputes and the slag grow and the valley sours. The film has to squeeze into Huw's childhood to make use of the same actor yet the book takes place over a 15 year period but ends with the death of Gwillum. The strength of the family circle is as strong as the Morgan family in the movie. Bronwen is a much bigger character and influence on Huw than is shown in the film.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin

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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby CineMaven » May 19th, 2013, 9:58 am

I hope I get extra points for this. ( Or sympathy. ) I'm scared of John Ford. I keep thinking I won't be smart enough or depth-y enough to understand his work, so I shy away.

I watched ( with trepidation ) The Essentials a couple of Saturdays ago when "HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY" was aired. I enjoyed it and was totally astonished by young Roddy McDowall's performance. He really made me see the movie through his eyes. His love-sick look when he first sees Bronwyn, his going to school and facing taunts and the headmaster's classism. His look as his father lay in his arms when they come up out of the pits. I was totally into Roddy and found him enchanting.

I liked little roly poly Sarah Allgood having all those big strapping sons, and a good healthy relationship with Donald Crisp. I'm leaning more and more over to Walter Pidgeon. There's something about him. And of course, Maureen 0'Hara. She and Pidgeon were so heartachingly painful to watch. Her reaching out to him, and him not wanting to return her love. And then him standing up to the congregational when gossipy, mean-spirited tongues wagged. I could feel her longing, but I could also feel him holding back. Ack!!! I understand the holding back all too well.

I was corresponding to a friend who is a big Maureen O'Hara fan. This is what she wrote me about the film:

K.M.-P. wrote:Oh, 'How Green was my Valley' then. I'm glad you seemed to like it, as this is one of the 'keepers' in Maureen's filmography. And how. What makes the movie isn't necessarily her, though, but the whole cast and feeling of the thing.

It really was such a perfect cast. And the fella, I forget the real name, who plays Cyfartha the blind boxer, going to Huw's school with wee Barry FitzGerald - Priceless! "No aptitude for knowledge."

Now, Walter. Yes. I was never one to swoon over him... I find him more as this marvellously steady father figure, always there for a warm hug and good advice. He's also big and strong with fine morals, so the kind of fellow you'd want to be married to when you're through having fun with the Gables and the Flynns etc. But in this movie he is closing in on swooning material. The way he stands up to those hypocrits in church. The way he stares at Maureen, deeming her queen wherever she goes, the way he stands there after her wedding, broken. I am really annoyed they couldn't be together, though.


Now, have a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq1YjpNv7FE

I think it's a lovely way to imagine them as a couple and it sort of isolated their story in all of this. And it give me chills. Their kiss, when they know it's over, the way Maureen kisses him, so dead honest, and the way their hands find each other as naturally af they had been married forever. Ah, heartbreaking! WHY couldn't they have been together??

And Maureen, her childish look, the way her eyes looks up at Walter in church and are lit with love is a shot I've seen a million times and still I marvel. And mind she was 21 years old! This is how I love seeing her - nuanced, full of emotion, but restrained. The girl knew how to act, but unfortunetly she rarely got the chance to display it.

Maureen does indeed initate, but you can tell it's sort of forced. She is also shy, but she just adores him so much she can't bear to stand back and let it all get away from her. She's so young and so trusting it's heartbreaking. So honest and pure.


This was a good solid film, told simply and with depth by John Ford. A well-deserved Academy Award for Best Picture. I'll have to re-read this thread to get the depth I probably missed in my viewing. All I can say is I had a lovely time in this Welsh village.

Please do check out the video by clicking to the link above. Very emotional. Looks like I have to get passed O'Hara's beauty and give her acting a real chance.
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moira finnie
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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby moira finnie » May 19th, 2013, 11:29 am

Theresa, I'm so glad you have enjoyed this film so much and thought it was rather brilliant of TCM to schedule Roddy McDowell's remarkable performance just before they aired Peggy Ann Garner's equally uncanny acting in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn last week. I was not able to see The Essentials discussion of the movie, however. Did RO & Drew Barrymore have anything interesting to say about the movie?

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CineMaven wrote: And the fella, I forget the real name, who plays Cyfartha the blind boxer, going to Huw's school with wee Barry FitzGerald - Priceless! "No aptitude for knowledge."


Cyfartha was actually the name of Barry Fitzgerald's character. Dai Bando was the blind boxer so beautifully played by Rhys Williams, reportedly the only actual Welshman in the cast. Williams coached his cast mates in their Welsh accents, though somehow the Welsh seemed awfully Irish under Ford's guidance (like he cared about verisimilitude more than his own emotional truth!).
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Above: Rhys Williams cheerfully offering to go down the mine to find Gwilym Morgan (Donald Crisp), while Barry Fitzgerald's self-confessed coward offers to hold his coat.

I have Welsh friends who hate this movie because of that blurring and due to the streamlining of the novel's events. Despite that, for me it's brilliant, elegiac, and simply unforgettable. Despite everything, I think the film is still universal in its portrayal of the essential truth about the surge of love and sting of loss we all experience over the course of a lifetime. The love between Angharad (Maureen O'Hara) and Walter Pidgeon's Mr. Gruffydd is among the handful of truly believable love stories on film for me, (how sad to think of this, but I don't think that anyone ever calls him by his first name in the film, do they?).
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If you have begun to be more interested in Walter Pidgeon, have you had a chance to see him in Dark Command (1940-Raoul Walsh), Man Hunt (1941-Fritz Lang) and If Winter Comes (1947-Victor Saville)? He is very good in these roles (and sort of adorable, too :oops:)--even in Dark Command where he plays evil William Cantrell of Civil War Confederate guerrilla fame he has his moments. Of course, for fun there are those Nick Carter flicks, the hilariously steamy White Cargo, and in The Secret Heart, he is an unwitting (and frankly clueless) object of forbidden love for loopy teenager June Allyson--but he still exudes an appealing warmth in the part. I like him okay opposite Greer Garson, esp. as Clem Miniver and as Pierre in Madame Curie, but some of those roles in that series make him play fairly colorless characters. at least to me.

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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby CineMaven » May 19th, 2013, 12:43 pm

Hi there. I told my friend that it was Rhys Williams. He was good, and that closing line after they give the teacher a can of whoopass. I've got to really explore Walter Pidgeon...just another on my long list of ( re )discoveries. I've got to look at IMDB to give an accurate account of what I've seen of his other than "The Secret Heart" ( Allyson...not quite right; she's no Ann Blyth ) or Hedy getting her hooks in him as Tondelayo or other sundry films. Thanxx for those suggestions. I don't quite recall Robert-0's and Drew's discussion of the film. Dang. Sorry.

There may be an advantage to not reading the novels of these great films. I have no expectations. I don't know what I'm missing. I just find that these films stand up very well on their own.

Yes, Peggy Ann Garner, also wonderful in "A Tree..." Methinks they don't even make child actors like they used to.
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JackFavell
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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby JackFavell » May 19th, 2013, 1:53 pm

Hey, I loved your writeup of HGWMV, the only movie I instantly recognize the initials of. :D

It's a film that I experience rather than just 'watch'. It gets me right down to my toes, from the moment it starts. I'm proud of you for trying it out. It's a beautiful film and the attrition of the sons and family and even the land they lived in breaks my heart. You make me realize I should go back and watch it again soon.

As for Walter Pidgeon, Moira mentioned most of the good ones. I'll second all her picks - Dark Command may be the most different of his roles, with a little more macho going on - Man Hunt fits that bill too, but I bet you've seen it. The Nick Carter movies are a joy - he's really loose and fun. Really! I know you've just seen Man-Proof, I thought he gave a really great performance in a very difficult role. Also look for The Shopworn Angel, though here he's a second fiddle, but man! what a second fiddle. Too Hot to Handle pits him against Gable, so he really doesn't stand a chance, but it's a good movie.

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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby movieman1957 » May 19th, 2013, 3:05 pm

I've always loved the portrayal of the family. The respect they show each other even in disagreement is a wonderful thing. It is all more than love. It is honoring the parents. One of my favorite shots is after they do have a squabble and all the boys but Huw leave the table. The father sits at the end of the table pondering what has just happened as and Huw eats and drops his fork and knife on his plate making a loud noise and his father, without looking up, says he knows he is still there.

The scene where the last two adult boys leave for America is also bittersweet and without any words. They are given their money and they go and kiss their mother goodbye and then as they leave the house their father reads the 23rd Psalm.

It's a heartwarming and heartbreaking movie. There is beauty in the film.
Chris

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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby RedRiver » May 19th, 2013, 3:29 pm

I keep thinking I won't be smart enough or depth-y enough to understand his work

I'm that way with everything. I react to face value. Looks good. Sounds good. Inspires an emotional response. I like it! Some of the analysis I read makes me think, "Um...OK. I just thought it was fun!"

I liked little roly poly Sarah Allgood having all those big strapping sons

"I'm Bess Morgan, as ya' damn well know!" Do not **** with a John Ford mother!

There is beauty in the film.

Indeed there is. It's a movie that MUST be seen more than once.

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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby rohanaka » May 25th, 2013, 7:21 pm

Look at you, Miss Maven.. dipping your toesies in the Fordian pool!! :D Nicely done, little missy. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. (and those of your friend too)

It is good to step out once in a while and try on something new. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed this film. I have to say it is a very dear to my heart movie.

Oh, and I am with you.. Wowsa, that little Roddy.. what a guy. I love that the story is told from Huw's point of view. And yet you get a really good sense of all the characters (even if you are only seeing some of them as he does) He's the quiet "observer" as the drama plays out in his family, in the community.. and between his sister and the man she loves. And yet he is NOT so quiet at other times.. (such as when his brother dies.. I LOVE how he goes to live with Bronwen.. to become the "man" of her house.. so she will have someone to care for again. Good gravy, that one gets me every time. It is one of my most favorite parts of the whole movie)

I also love when the school teacher gets his "boxing lesson' HA. ( He has No aptitude for knowledge!) :lol: Too hilarious.

There is just a lot of very "rich" texture in the way the whole story is presented.. the characters, the setting.. even the music. The little moments.. and the big ones.. they all combine quite nicely and make such a very touching story.

Glad you got a chance to check it all out, little missy.

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Re: How Green Was My Valley

Postby RedRiver » May 28th, 2013, 12:42 pm

I suspect this classic is even better than I realize. It has so many layers.


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