How Green Was My Valley

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How Green Was My Valley, (1941) emotional, dramatic 20th Century Fox film based on the book by Richard Llewellyn. The film directed by John Ford, marked the American debut of Roddy McDowall as Huw. Ford made the unusual decision to keep Huw the same age throughout many years that are supposed to pass. The title reflects the author's belief that his valley once green is quickly being blackened by the slag from the coal mine.

If you are a subscriber to the Chairpotato Entertainment Channel on Knol, we watched this film together on 4 Jan 2011.

Roddy McDowall plays Huw, the 10-year-old and youngest son in the Welsh coal-mining Morgan family.

A family of coal miners in Wales, consists of the father (Donald Crisp), mother (Sara Allgood), five sons and two daughters, Angharad and Bronwyn. When the coal mine lowers wages, the miners strike. Just following a miners meeting, the mother and youngest son Huw (Roddy McDowall) slip into the icy river and are bedridden for months. Huy has a scene supposed to be poignant, but really a bit farcical, where he takes his first steps.

One daughter Angharad (Maureen O'Hara), desperately in love with the village preacher Mr Gruffydd (Walter Pidgeon), ends up instead married to the wealthy son of the coal-mine owner and moves to Cape Town.

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One by one the sons and daughters leave, excepting one son who is killed in the mines. The youngest son Huw goes to school, where he is attacked by bullies and whipped by the teacher. A disney-esque scene has the teacher getting his lesson taught back to him by an adult boxer. Instead of an illustrious career, Huw decides to be a coal-miner like his father and brothers.

Angharad returns to the village, or rather to her large house nearby, separated from her husband, and possibly still in-love with Mr. Griffith. The scandal reverberates around the village, causing Mr Griffith to make a speech in which he steps down from the pulpit.

An explosion at the mine leaves Huw's father trapped. Huw and Mr Griffith and others go down and find him just as he dies in Huw's arms.

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