Review: ‘These Three’

A thoroughly fine cinematic transmutation of Lillian Hellman's dramatic Broadway smash, The Childrens Hour is her own scenarization, reedited and retitled for Haysian purposes as These Three. Stripped of its original theme [of lesbianism], it is fortified by a socko trio in Miriam Hopkins, Merle Oberon and Joel McCrea.

A thoroughly fine cinematic transmutation of Lillian Hellman’s dramatic Broadway smash, The Childrens Hour is her own scenarization, reedited and retitled for Haysian purposes as These Three. Stripped of its original theme [of lesbianism], it is fortified by a socko trio in Miriam Hopkins, Merle Oberon and Joel McCrea.

Parring the tungsten threesome, however, are two adolescents, Bonita Granville as the hateful Mary Tilford, and Marcia Mae Jones as the subjected, inhibited child. Theirs are inspired performances.

Hellman, if anything, has improved upon the original in scripting the triangle as a dramatis personae of romantic frustration, three basically wholesome victims of an unwholesome combination of circumstance.

McCrea was never better in translating a difficult assignment intelligently and sympathetically. The well bred restraint of Hopkins and Oberon in their travail with the mixture of juvenile emotions at their boarding school is likewise impressive. Oberon is the sympathetic Karen; Hopkins has the assignment of unrequited love.

1936: Nomination: Best Supp. Actress (Bonita Granville)

These Three

Production

Goldwyn/United Artists. Director William Wyler; Producer Samuel Goldwyn; Screenplay Lillian Hellman; Camera Gregg Toland; Editor Danny Mandell; Music Alfred Newman; Art Director Richard Day

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1936. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Miriam Hopkins Merle Oberon Joel McCrea Catherine Doucet Alma Kruger Bonita Granville
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