Best Picture Reviews: How Green Was My Valley

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Green my behind, this is a black and white movie! I guess that after ‘Gone With The Wind’, I suppose I got my hopes up for colors. But hey, color doesn’t mean much if the film is good. After all, Citizen Kane, arguably the greatest film of all time, was also B&W, and it came out the exact same year this film did. And it lost. Well, I think that was a bit unfair, as ‘How Green Was My Valley’ I find to be pretty overrated.

Huw Morgan (A young Roddy McDowall) is leaving a valley blackened by coal mines. We see his memories of living on the valley, living with his father (Donald Crisp), mother (Sara Allgood), and siblings Ianto, Ivor, Davy, Angharad, Gwilym Jr, Owen, and a partridge in a pear tree. The miners begin to strike, Angharad falls in love with a priest (not smart), and the audience scratches their heads, wondering what this movie has that Citizen Kane doesn’t.

This isn’t a horrible movie, but it doesn’t really seem to offer anything new. The valley is nice and all, but it’s hard to get emotionally involved with this place seeing as how we know that it’s going to go all black and that the main character is going to end up leaving. The art direction and cinematography are nice, and the score is nice and pleasant, but I don’t remember this movie leaving much of an impact on me. Watching the film is like shaking a friends hand. It’s nice, but you forget about it a moment later. Doesn’t do anything spectacular, doesn’t do anything wrong. That’s how to describe this movie.

Citizen Kane would be known and beloved by moviegoers as one of the greatest movies of all time. How Green Was My Valley is just ‘that movie’. Why did this movie win Best Picture? Perhaps we’ll never know. But now we’re in the 1940’s. The decade that defined film-noir. We’ll just have to wait and see what this decade has in store.

***1/2

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