20th Century-Fox release of Darryl F. Zanuck production. Features Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O’Hara, Donald Crisp, Anna Lee and Roddy McDowall. Directed by John Ford. Based on novel by Richard Llewellyn. Screenplay, Philip Dunn; music, Alfred Newman; camera, Arthur Miller; film editor James B. Clark. Tradeshown in N.Y., Oct. 27, ’41. Running time: 120 MIN.
Mr. Gruffydd – Walter Pidgeon
Angharad – Maureen O’Hara
Mr. Morgan – Donald Crisp
Bronwen – Anna Lee
Huw – Roddy McDowall
Ianto – John Loder
Mrs. Morgan – Sara Allgood
“How Green Was My Valley” is one of the year’s better films, a surefire critic’s picture and, unlike most features that draw kudos from crix, this one will also do business.
Based on a best-selling novel, this saga of Welsh coal-mining life is replete with much human interest, romance, conflict and almost every other human emotion to match up to cinematic standards for all audiences. It’s a warm, human story that Richard Llewellyn has wrought basically, and the skillful John Ford camera-painting, from a fine scenario by Philip Dunne, needed only expert casting to round out the job. In this respect the picture is extremely fortunate.
Performances are impressive all the way: fine yet forceful, punchy yet almost underplayed in their deeper meanings, gay and bitter, romantic and frustrated in properly arresting shades and moods, colors and contrasts. All the way it’s an exposition of the cinematic art that pars the best.