How Green Was My Valley
This is one of those stupid films that glorifies the past to such adegree as to be absurd. You know how it goes: "Oh, the world was so much better back then. Kids were well-behaved. Everybody was nice to one another. New cars cost a nickel. Hurricanes never hit land. And if your intern didn't swallow, it wasn't considered sex."
This 1941 John Ford film won the Academy Award that year. It's the story of the Morgan family, whose members earn their living in the mines of South Wales. They walk home from the mine singing songs and basically, everything is just dandy. That is, until wages suddenly drop and unionism rears its ugly head. Through the eyes of young Huw Morgan (Roddy McDowall), we see things deteriorate from there.
First of all, Huw and his mother (Sara Allgood) fall in some cold water after attending a union meeting which Huw's father (Donald Crisp) opposes because the mine owners have always been good to him, unionism is socialism, and he's an old codger who understands progress about as well as an Amish dirt salesman. Then there's Huw's sister, Angharad (Maureen O'Hara), who's in love with the new preacher, Mr. Gruffydd (Walter Pidgeon). However, because Gruffydd fears the social implications of their relationship and embarrassed that he can't spell her name (or his own), he forsakes Angharad, who in turn marries the mine owner's son.
Like an elevator down a mine shaft, "How Green Was My Valley" descends into darkness until the family Morgan is all but obliterated. It's a great date film if you're a future industrial giant or a Young Republican -- after all, there's nothing more stimulating to corporate greedheads than watching the proletariat get Black Lung.
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