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85 of 91 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Into The Valley
John Ford's 1941 film How Green Was My Valley tells the story of a Welsh mining family, the Morgans, through the eyes of the youngest member of the family, ten-year old Huw (Roddy McDowell). Mr. & Mrs. Morgan (Donald Crisp & Sara Allgood) have seven children and struggle to keep their family afloat. Mr. Morgan is a miner, but he refuses to join a newly formed union and...
Published on February 21, 2003 by P Magnum

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BRING KLEENEX - A POIGNANT TEAR JERKER
"How Green Was My Valley" is a story about the celebration and disillusionment of family. It takes place in a Welsh mining town (actually a Twentieth Century-Fox set built in California) and centers on the Morgan family, mum, dad and five adult sons and one child, played brilliantly by Roddy McDowell. The whole story is seen through McDowell's eyes. Director...
Published on April 1, 2003 by Nix Pix


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85 of 91 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Into The Valley, February 21, 2003
This review is from: How Green Was My Valley (DVD)
John Ford's 1941 film How Green Was My Valley tells the story of a Welsh mining family, the Morgans, through the eyes of the youngest member of the family, ten-year old Huw (Roddy McDowell). Mr. & Mrs. Morgan (Donald Crisp & Sara Allgood) have seven children and struggle to keep their family afloat. Mr. Morgan is a miner, but he refuses to join a newly formed union and join in on their strike. This creates tensions within the family and violence erupts. Through it all the family survives, but their hometown and culture begin to decline. Mr. Ford poignantly portrays the fading of childhood innocence and the good side and down side of life in a small town. The film is still relevant today as Mr. Ford shows how technology dehumanizes society as machinery that is more efficient and cost-effective starts to replace many of the mine's best workers and renders them unneeded and forces them into unemployment. The film beat out what is considered the greatest movie of time, Citizen Kane, to win the 1941 Academy Award for Best Picture and Mr. Ford beat Orson Welles to win his second consecutive Best Director Award (and the third of his total of four). The film won three other Oscars including Best Supporting Actor for Mr. Crisp. The film was to be shot in color on location in Wales, but due to the escalation of World War II, filming was moved to California and shot in black & white to help create the dreariness of South Wales. This worked out brilliantly as the lack of color helps create more a bleaker mood and Arthur C. Miller was rewarded with an Oscar for Best Cinematography.
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72 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films about family ever made. Very moving., August 10, 1999
By A Customer
This movie is impeccably crafted, written, performed, and directed. It's impossible not to be drawn in emotionally. Both HOW GREEN and Ford's pervious film, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, are realistic depictions of the effects of severe economic and social conditions upon a family. But while GRAPES centers more on the social conditions, VALLEY focuses primarily on the family itself. Indeed, it mourns the loss of family unity. The legendary Irish-American Ford was known for his gruff, crusty exterior, but pictures like this one show his sentimentality and his belief in the basic values of human life.
HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY is about a large, close-knit family, the Morgans, in a small Welsh mining town. The family is headed by a firm father and a gentle, wise mother, and comprises six sons and one daughter. The five grown sons are, like their father, coal miners, and it is their hope that the sixth son, sensitive and intelligent Huw (Roddy McDowall), will become a scholar. It is through Huw's eyes that the story is told. He looks back as an older man and reflects on his family, his valley, and its people.
He grows up in a time of change, watching in confusion as a secure way of life is altered for the worse by mine owners who overwork the mines and alienate the miners, leading his brothers to call for unionism, a concept which his father abhors. This is the central decision from which the other threads of this compelling story evolve, and the film is ultimately a beautifully moving drama, one of the best films about family ever made.
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Trees" Also Grow in Wales, October 10, 2003
This review is from: How Green Was My Valley (DVD)
Frankly, I had forgotten how excellent this film is until seeing it again recently. (It received the Academy Award for best film in 1941in competition with Citizen Kane and the other nominees.) The impact on me of a film at a given time is almost wholly dependent on how accessible I am when seeing it. I first saw How Green Was My Valley as a child and then again several years later. Probably because since then I have become a father and then a grandfather, I am much more appreciative now than I was before of what director John Ford achieves in his portrayal of a Welsh mining town and of a specific family there which struggles so courageously to enable one of its own, not only to escape from the mines but from the limits of a culture (albeit loving and supportive) to fulfill his human potentialities which would otherwise be denied. The film covers a 50-year period as an adult Huw Morgan recalls it (he is played by Roddy McDowell), with the primary focus on his ordeals as the youngest of several children. Donald Crisp received an Academy Award as best actor in a supporting role as Morgan family's patriarch. Many believe this is Ford's best film and I would be hard-pressed to disagree with them. It really has everything. With Philip Dunne's screenplay based on Richard Llewellyn's novel, How Green Was My Valley combines superior acting and cinematography with Alfred Newman's complementary musical score. For me, this film's greatness is found in its graphic portrayal of hardship and despair in a bleak mining town which are offset by a proud family's enduring faith in Huw and their determination to protect and support him. Ford affirms their essential dignity with a respect and admiration he invites us to share.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Who Is For Wil Morgan?" ~ A Life In Retrospect, July 26, 2006
This review is from: How Green Was My Valley (DVD)
Of all the unforgettable classic b/w films made in the 40's during the "Golden Age" of Hollywood, `How Green Was My Valley' released in '41 is my personal favorite. Who could ever tire of watching this timeless tale focusing on a poor Welsh coal mining community at the beginning of the 20th century. Done in narration style you will be transported back to a difficult, but simplier time to relive the life of young Huw Morgan (Roddy McDowall) and his loving memories of family, friends and assorted members of the township. His lifetime unfolds before the viewer, moments of happiness and hardship, triumphs and failures, life and death.

Directed by the legendary John Ford and performed by a cast which includes some of the finest actors and actresses of that generation it's no surprise this film won numerous Academy Award in '41, including the Oscar for "Best Picture".

Starring Roddy McDowall, Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Donald Crisp and a myriad of notables. This is a film that belongs in everyone's DVD collection.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How wet was my hankie, March 18, 2005
This review is from: How Green Was My Valley (DVD)
It's an impressive line-up that doesn't disappoint. John Ford directs from the Richard Llewelyn book and there's fine acting from Donald Crisp (the father) and Walter Pidgeon (the local minister). Perhaps young Roddy McDowell's performance is a bit too sympathetic, but this is a coming of age film.

The story is set in Cywm Rhonda, the famed Welsh coal mining valley. Despite the gorgeous cinematography and a soundtrack just full of fabulous Welsh men's choral singing, "How Green Was My Valley" is a real tear jerker, almost infinitely sad. No good milestone in young Huw's life is untouched by grief. You'll smile in places, as when Ty Bando gives the ghastly schoolmaster a boxing lesson, but mostly you'll cry, starting about 15 seconds in, and lasting until the last moment. If you can handle a real tear-jerker, you've GOT to see this. A favorite of mine for a third of a century now and still I discover new glories in it. It's stunningly well-edited, I realized in my latest viewing.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Was Too Quick to Judge, January 10, 2004
This review is from: How Green Was My Valley (DVD)
I was reluctant to watch this movie. After all, I am 21 and am used to seeing John Ford movies such as "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon". I was sure I would be bored with this movie. Was I ever wrong. This movie touches you in every way. It is quite possibly the saddest and most emotional movie I've ever seen. The cast is very solid: Maureen O'Hara, Anna Lee, Walter Pidgeon, and Roddy McDowall. There is something special about How Green Was My Valley that I cannot explain. I am glad it won Best Picture at the Oscars in 1941. I hope nobody tries to remake this film because no actor or director could do a better job. This is one of the best movies I have ever seen.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The past; seen through thick, nostalgic glasses, April 8, 2003
This review is from: How Green Was My Valley (DVD)
"How Green Was My Valley" is a rare, quality entry into that classic genre, the movie that is an unfettered, sentimental love letter to "days gone by." This particular Brigadoon is a small Welsh mining town, where every cause is righteous , where money corrupts and the very poorest have the purest of hearts and where the salt of the Earth earn their keep by digging deep in the coal mines.
If you are in the mood for it, if you can check you modern cynicism at the door, "How Green Was My Valley" is an excellent film. John Ford (The Searchers, The Quiet Man) is a master director, and creates an incredible authenticity of feeling and homesickness, especially for a man born in Maine. Young Roddy McDowall is a feisty Huw Morgan, and Maureen O'Hara is the tragic beauty Angharad Morgan. The film presents some interesting lessons on church morality, poverty and fighting back, though not always in the way expected.
There will always be room for this type of movie. "It's a Wonderful Life," "Madadayo" and "How Green was my Valley" are all in my movie collection. Sometimes you just need to sit back and let the nostalgia for "days gone by" wash over you.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To understand just how good a movie this is, read the book!, July 22, 2001
By A Customer
This movie is not a strained adaptation of just any old book. Llewellyn's "How Green Was My Valley" is autobiographical and should be read by all viewers as it is beautifully and tenderly written. The movie accurately depicts the true story of a Welsh family living in a community that is being destroyed bit by bit, its workers and their families exploited by mine owners with no respect for the people or the land - - a story many Americans can identify with because they or their families have experienced or are experiencing such exploitation here. Sound like a good guy-bad guy film? Not so - - the characters' complexities are developed in a way seldom seen in American films. The family's grace, courage and commitment to each other in the face of great personal losses are both inspiring and believable. Roddy McDowell excells as the youngest son and author/narrator. Do see it, and read the book!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BRING KLEENEX - A POIGNANT TEAR JERKER, April 1, 2003
By 
Nix Pix (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How Green Was My Valley (DVD)
"How Green Was My Valley" is a story about the celebration and disillusionment of family. It takes place in a Welsh mining town (actually a Twentieth Century-Fox set built in California) and centers on the Morgan family, mum, dad and five adult sons and one child, played brilliantly by Roddy McDowell. The whole story is seen through McDowell's eyes. Director John Ford cuts a masterful swath in telling this tale. Maureen O'Hara and Walter Pigeon, as the ill-fated lovers, are superb. Donald Crisp and Sara Allgoode are brilliant as the elders of the Morgan clan. This is a wonderful, timeless film to share with your family and friends. A genuine classic in every sense.
The transfer from Fox is pretty much the same as the previously issued DVD. Contrast levels seema bit low at times but the black and white picture is pretty much pristine, especially when it comes to the stunning close ups. The remixed soundtrack is a bit too aggresive in its side channel output, often drowning out the more soft spoken bits of dialogue with music. Not to worry. The film's original mono audio is also included and it is properly balanced. Dialogue, though dated in fidelity is nevertheless well represented. On this incarnation we get a documentary on the making of the movie that is all too brief and some theatrical trailers that don't add anything to the enjoyment of the over-all film experience. BOTTOM LINE: If you have the previously issued DVD you might want to think twice before going out and rebuying this title again. The extras aren't worth it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt Ford Masterpiece, June 11, 2006
By 
Murray B. Woldman "NoVA Man" (Alexandria, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How Green Was My Valley (DVD)
When I was a college student, this film was shown as part of our film classic series. It was the first week of my freshman year. As I had been too young to see it when it was released, I saw it for the first time then. I recall tears in my eyes through many sequences because the film's warm picture of a closeknit loving family. I felt very homesick, being away from home for the first time and it made me miss my own family all the more. As I have grown older, the film's beauty, deep human feeling, artistry, and general excellence have continued to grow on me. It is now many years since I saw it that first time but I never tire of it.

I am delighted that it has become the recognized classic it is. All the wonderful actors are gone now, except for legendary and still beautiful Maureen O'Hara, who speaks movingly of her own experiences making it and staying in touch with the great people she worked with in it at How Green Was My Valley parties John Ford gave every year for the company until he grew old and sick. Of course John Ford's talent is something that one appreciates more as life goes on and one realizes what great art he produced within the studio system and what lovely and moving stories he created in those wonderful years.

By all means, if you have not seen this film, buy it, see it, treasure it and pass it to your children so they can see how great movies once were.
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How Green Was My Valley
How Green Was My Valley by John Ford (DVD - 2003)
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