Part of my addiction problem is an obsession with old movies. Film Noir will capture me almost every time. If it’s got dames & gumshoes I’m in for the duration. Turner Movie Classics is making this an even worse problem: now I’m doing the classics.
I recently spent 4 hours watching Gone With The Wind. Not my cup of tea based on the people who’d told me all about what a wonderful movie I had been missing. Meh. But I was wrong. Really wrong: it rocked.
Now that wasn’t bad enough – it opened my eyes to the fact that I’d been dismissing a lot of movies based on other’s wimpy fondness for them. Call it blinders, stupidity, gall, or just arrogance. Your choice. I admit freely that my viewing was lacking.
It should come as no surprise then that my DVR captured How Green Was My Valley when it aired recently. The plot didn’t sound all that great on first glance but I gave it a shot.
Wow. I was blown away by the cast for starters. If a great character actor was missing I can’t name them. All of my favorites from an entire generation of actors were in this film. Roddy McDowell, Maureen O’Hara, Walter Pidgeon… and all those faces you know but can’t name as the rest of the cast.
If there was a more beautiful woman on earth during her era Maureen O’Hara didn’t know about it: she exudes sexy charm, fresh faced beauty, and a grace that abounds in every scene. The woman could act to boot. I’ve never seen her in anything where I didn’t want to watch for another two hours. If you want to be transfixed by her beauty and skill, watch The Quiet Man. Funny, piercing, serious, and sad all in one movie.
The movie’s plot is simple: the lives of a family of Welsh coal miners at the turn of the century. The trials and challenges were daunting, but their love and loyalty to each other brought them through it all. The simple story and basic decency of humanity were the focus rather than the despair and depravity that were the opposite side of that coin.
You will find, if you watch the TCM version of the movie, that the story is just a small part of the novel by Richard Llwellyn. I’m going to read it when I get some time next year. (Yes, I have to plan my reading that far in advance. Seems that writing takes up some of the time reading used to in my life.)
I’d give the movie 5 stars out of 5. Well worth a view and not just for Maureen O’Hara. But then again, she is worth it all by herself. Here’s the trailer just for a taste:
How green is your valley? Are you loyal and loving to your friends and family in the face of adversity?