Best Picture Winners Part 14 (of 87): How Green Was My Valley



Title: How Green Was My Valley
Year: 1941
Starring: Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O’Hara, Roddy McDowall
Director: John Ford
Runtime: 1 hr 58 mins

Is It Any Good?: It’s pretty good. With a steady hand John Ford walks the tightrope with the subject matter of labor issues which at the time had studio heads at 20th Century Fox turned off at the idea of shooting this film. But the best-selling book  of 1939 did make it to the screen, and it took down some heavyweights. We’ll go over that later. It’s a great film, one that fits better during the time it was created. In the wake of Pearl Harbor and the United States’ entry into World War II seeing such a story lead to critical praise and box office success as it was the highest grossing film of 1941.

Memorable Quote: Beth Morgan: Nothing is enough for people who have minds like cesspools. Oh Huw, my little one, I hope when you’re grown their tongues will be slower to hurt.

Competition: Boy what a field! From the classic’s that don’t really hold up like One Foot in Heaven, and the Bette Davis vehicle The Little Foxes. To Blossoms in the Dust which doesn’t even belong here. But let’s talk about the great stuff. Not only do we have the greatest film noir ever in The Maltese Falcon, we have Hitchcock striking again this time in a loss with Suspicion, and the often remade, but never duplicated Here Comes Mr. Jordan, even Bollywood has gotten onto that one! Rounding it out you have the Gary Cooper driven Sargent York for which he won Best Actor in 1941, and Hold Back the Dawn. As if it weren’t enough that How Green Was My Valley beat The Maltese Falcon in what could be consider a huge blemish on the Academy’s record it also beat our final Best Picture nominee Citizen Kane a film often consider the greatest of all time or in the word’s of my good buddy Phil Barrett of states “It’s the most important film ever made”. It’s said that this was due to politics regarding Orson Welles and a statement he made regarding studio execs as “overpaid office boys”.

Next up is 1942, and a film I’ve never seen before by a legendary director of the Golden Era.

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