How Green Was My Valley – 1941 – English
Synopsis: Life is hard in a Welsh mining town and no less so for the Morgan family. Seen through the eyes of the family’s youngest, Huw, we learn of the family’s trials and tribulations. Family patriarch Gwilym and his older sons work in the mines, dangerous and unhealthy as it is. Gwilym has greater hopes for his youngest son, but Huw has his own ideas on how to honor his father. Daughter Angharad is the most beautiful girl in the valley and is very much in love with Mr. Gruffydd, who isn’t sure he can provide her the life she deserves. Times are hard and good men find themselves out of work and exploited by unseen mine owners.
Review: John Ford’s film of social and familial change details the chilling effects hard economic times have on a large, but tight-knit Welsh coal mining family around the turn of the last century. Told in narrative flashback by the youngest of seven children (5 young men and a young lady) it begins when the coalmines are new, the valley still green, and the village cohesive and close-knit. As economic times worsen, the family and community fray and slowly disintegrate. The backdrop village becomes darker and smokier as the family fights valiantly to remain together. But unlike the treatment the story would probably get today, the family does not lose its dignity.
There is not much, if anything, to criticize in How Green Was My Valley, it’s one of the best ever.