How Green Was My Valley (1941)

118 or 120 mins | Drama | 26 December 1941

Director:

John Ford

Writer:

Philip Dunne

Producer:

Darryl F. Zanuck

Cinematographer:

Arthur Miller

Editor:

James B. Clark

Production Designers:

Richard Day, Nathan Juran

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The film ends with a montage of scenes of the "Morgan" family, and offscreen narration by "Huw" as he reflects on the death of his father: "Men like my father cannot die. They are with me still. Real in memory as they were in the flesh, loving and beloved forever. How green was my valley then!" According to contemporary news items, Ernest Pascal and Irish dramatist Liam O'Flaherty worked on early versions of the screenplay for the film. Information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, indicates that Pascal and O'Flaherty did not contribute to the completed picture, however,
       According to a 14 Oct 1940 HR news item, William Wyler was originally scheduled to direct the picture, with Kenneth Macgowan slated to act as associate producer. An Apr 1941 HR news item announced that Wyler was being replaced by John Ford and would instead direct Samuel Goldwyn's The Little Foxes , because casting difficulties had delayed the beginning of production on How Green Was My Valley . Modern sources assert that Wyler was replaced after studio executives in New York expressed reservations about his reputation for extravagance. A Jun 1941 NYT article reported that Gregg Toland had wanted to serve as the film's director of photography, but also was prevented from doing so by his commitment to work on The Little Foxes .
       According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also located at UCLA, the studio had originally intended for "Huw Morgan" to be a young boy in the first half of the film, then an ... More Less

The film ends with a montage of scenes of the "Morgan" family, and offscreen narration by "Huw" as he reflects on the death of his father: "Men like my father cannot die. They are with me still. Real in memory as they were in the flesh, loving and beloved forever. How green was my valley then!" According to contemporary news items, Ernest Pascal and Irish dramatist Liam O'Flaherty worked on early versions of the screenplay for the film. Information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts--Special Collections Library, indicates that Pascal and O'Flaherty did not contribute to the completed picture, however,
       According to a 14 Oct 1940 HR news item, William Wyler was originally scheduled to direct the picture, with Kenneth Macgowan slated to act as associate producer. An Apr 1941 HR news item announced that Wyler was being replaced by John Ford and would instead direct Samuel Goldwyn's The Little Foxes , because casting difficulties had delayed the beginning of production on How Green Was My Valley . Modern sources assert that Wyler was replaced after studio executives in New York expressed reservations about his reputation for extravagance. A Jun 1941 NYT article reported that Gregg Toland had wanted to serve as the film's director of photography, but also was prevented from doing so by his commitment to work on The Little Foxes .
       According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also located at UCLA, the studio had originally intended for "Huw Morgan" to be a young boy in the first half of the film, then an adult, played by Tyrone Power. After Roddy McDowall was cast, however, producer Darryl F. Zanuck and others involved in the film decided to cut the adult role and have Huw appear only as a boy, with his words as an adult spoken by an offscreen narrator throughout the film. Although Huw as an adult is glimpsed briefly in the picture's opening sequence, his face is not shown, and the actor playing him could not be identified.
       Some contemporary sources credit Irving Pichel as the offscreen narrator, the voice of Huw as an adult, but other sources credit the role to Rhys Williams. Although the narrator in the viewed print is definitely not Williams, it has not been determined if the narrator is Pichel or a third person. According to a modern source, Williams originally recorded the narration, but Ford, worried that audience members would recognize Williams' voice, as he also plays "Dai Bando" in the film, asked Pichel to re-record it. Some modern sources assert that Williams' version of the narration was used when the film was exhibited in the United Kingdom.
       May 1940 HR news items noted that Zanuck was negotiating for George Arliss to appear in the picture as "the father," with Laurence Olivier to play "the son." Late 1940 HR news items stated that Wilfred Lawson , Ida Lupino and Virginia Gilmore were under consideration for parts in the film, and that Alexander Knox was scheduled to play "Mr. Gruffydd." A Dec 1940 HR news item announced that start of production on the picture was being postponed due to casting problems, and that Zanuck hoped to cast Olivier as Gruffydd and Lawson as "Gwilym Morgan." In Jan 1941, HR noted that Lupino had been cast in another of the studio's productions and would be replaced in How Green Was My Valley by Gene Tierney. Tierney, however, does not appear in the completed picture. HR also reported that Lawson was not cast in the film because the British government refused to allow him to leave England, because he had resigned from the RAF to appear in the picture. According to a May 1941 HR news item, the studio was seeking actor Barton MacLane for the picture. Although HR production charts include John Sutton in the cast, he does not appear in the completed film.
       HR news items noted that the studio had originally wanted to shoot the picture entirely in Wales, as shooting there would be less expensive than filming in the United States, but could not do so because of the war. According to a Jun 1941 NYT article, footage of "authentic backgrounds" of England, shot by director Carol Reed, had recently been received by the studio, to be used either for transparencies or as reference for the prop and landscape departments.
       The picture was shot on location at Brent's Crags, in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu, CA, where an extensive set, covering eighty acres, was built by the studio. According to the film's pressbook, art director Richard Day based the design of the village on the real Cerrig Ceinnen and the adjoining village of Clyddach-cum Tawe, both located in the Rhondda Valley of Wales. With the exception of "God Bless the Queen," which is sung in English, all of the songs in the film are sung in Welsh.
       Walter Pidgeon was borrowed from M-G-M for the production, and Donald Crisp was borrowed from Warner Bros. English child actor McDowall, who had previously appeared in a small role in the 1941 Twentieth Century-Fox production Man Hunt , played his first starring role in an American film in How Green Was My Valley , which was also the last studio film made by director John Ford until the 1945 picture They Were Expendable . Ford made several documentaries for the U.S. military during the intervening years. A modern source includes Mae Marsh ( Miner's wife ), Louis Jean Heydt ( Miner ) and Frank Baker in the cast, and note that actor Joseph M. Kerrigan ( Tailor ) was cut from the finished picture.
       The film received five Academy Awards, including the first Best Picture "Oscar" to be awarded to Twentieth Century-Fox and Zanuck. Other Academy Awards won by the picture were Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Donald Crisp), Best Cinematography (black and white) and Best Art Direction (black and white). Academy Award nominations earned by the film were for Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress (Sara Allgood), Best Editing, Best Musical Score of a Dramatic Picture and Best Sound. The picture was named one of the ten best films of 1941 by FD , NYT and the National Board of Review, which also bestowed acting awards upon Crisp, Allgood and McDowall. The New York Film Critics named Ford the best director of 1941.
       According to Nov 1941 HR and FD news items and a studio press release, Twentieth Century-Fox engaged Richard Llewellyn to write Men of the Valley , a sequel to his best-selling novel, intending to reteam McDowall, Pidgeon, O'Hara and Allgood in an adaptation of the book, which was to have a "war background." Although Llewellyn did write again about "Huw Morgan" in his books Up, Into the Shining Mountain and Green, Green My Valley Now , he did not complete Men of the Valley , nor did the studio produce a sequel to the film.
       Lux Radio Theatre presented three radio dramatizations of How Green Was My Valley . For the first, on 21 Sep 1942, Crisp, Pidgeon, O'Hara, McDowall and Allgood reprised their movie roles. On 31 Mar 1947, David Niven, Maureen O'Sullivan and Crisp appeared with Johnny McGovern as "Huw," and on 28 Sep 1954, Michael Rennie co-starred with Alexis Smith and Christopher Cook. In May 1970, DV reported that Twentieth Century-Fox and ABC were considering using the story as the basis of a daytime television series. In 1975, the BBC presented a six-hour televsion version of the story, starring Stanley Baker. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Nov 1941.
---
Daily Variety
29 Oct 41
p. 3, 9.
Daily Variety
21 May 70
p. 1, 11.
Film Daily
29 Oct 41
pp. 4-6.
Film Daily
11 Nov 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Apr 40
pp. 1-2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 40
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Oct 40
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 40
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 40
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Nov 40
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Nov 40
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 40
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 40
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Nov 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 40
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 40
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Dec 40
p. 1, 8.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 40
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jan 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jan 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 41
pp. 1-2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 May 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
26 May 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 41
p. 2, 6.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jun 41
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 41
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 41
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 41
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 41
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 41
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Oct 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Oct 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 41
p. 1, 3-4.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Nov 41
p. 1, 4.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Nov 41
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Nov 41
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Dec 41
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jan 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jan 42
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 42
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 42
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Feb 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jan 43
p. 9.
Life
10 Nov 41
pp. 65-66, 69-70, 72
Los Angeles Times
21 Mar 1940.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 Dec 1941.
---
Motion Picture Daily
29 Oct 1941.
p. 1, 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Nov 1941.
p. 341.
New York Times
1 Jun 1941.
---
New York Times
8 Jun 1941.
---
New York Times
22 Jun 1941.
---
New York Times
7 Sep 1941.
---
New York Times
29 Oct 1941.
p. 27.
PM's Weekly
26 Oct 1941.
pp. 54-55.
Time
24 Nov 1941.
---
Variety
29 Oct 1941.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Stand-by painter
COSTUMES
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Tech adv
Prod mgr
Loc mgr
Mus research
Head of constr
STAND INS
Stand-in for Donald Crisp
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn (London, 1939).
MUSIC
"I Saw a Tiny Streamlet" by Owain Alaw
"The Sixpence," composer undetermined.
SONGS
"Cwm Rhondda," music by John Hughes, lyrics by Rev. William Williams
"Calon Lan," music by John Hughes, Welsh lyrics by Gwyrosydd
"Myfanwy-Arabella," music by Joseph Parry, Welsh lyrics by Mynyddag
+
SONGS
"Cwm Rhondda," music by John Hughes, lyrics by Rev. William Williams
"Calon Lan," music by John Hughes, Welsh lyrics by Gwyrosydd
"Myfanwy-Arabella," music by Joseph Parry, Welsh lyrics by Mynyddag
"God Save the Queen," music and lyrics by Henry Carey
"Penpark," music by J. T. Rees, Welsh lyrics by Charles Wesley, arranged by Tudor Williams
"Bryn Calfaria," music by William Owen, Welsh lyrics by Rev. William Williams
"Llef," music and lyrics by G. H. Arfon
"Hob I Deri Dando," Welsh folk song, new Welsh lyrics by Tudor Williams
"Men of Harlech," "Llwyn Onn," "Mochyn Du" and "Mentra Gwen," Welsh folk songs
"Peter O'Pea," Irish folk song.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 December 1941
Premiere Information:
World premiere in New York City: 28 October 1941
Wilkes Barre and Scranton, PA openings: 26 November 1941
Production Date:
10 June--early August 1941
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
26 December 1941
Copyright Number:
LP11257
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
118 or 120
Length(in feet):
10,730
Length(in reels):
13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
7480
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As fifty-year-old Huw Morgan prepares to leave his home in Cwm Rhondda, Wales, he reminisces about his family and life in his beloved valley. His memories turn to his father Gwilym, mother Beth, sister Angharad and his five older brothers, Ianto, Ivor, Gwilym, Davy and Owen. One afternoon, young Huw's world changes forever when he falls in love at first sight with Bronwyn, the beautiful young woman who is engaged to Ivor. The new preacher, Mr. Gruffydd, conducts the wedding ceremony, and he, too, finds love when he and Angharad catch each other's eye. Soon after, trouble begins when C. Evans, the owner of the coal mine, notifies everyone that wages are to be reduced. Morgan tries to rectify the situation, but when he cannot, the younger miners, including Davy and the other boys, want to organize a union and strike. Morgan refuses to allow the boys to discuss the issue at home, and so Davy, Owen, Ianto and Gwilym move out. The miners strike soon after, and as twenty-two weeks pass, everyone in the valley grows hungry and desperate. Some of the miners blame Morgan for their problems because of his opposition to the strike and begin to harass him. One bitter winter night, Beth has Huw take her to a miners' meeting, at which she castigates those who have mistreated her husband. On their journey home, Beth falls into a freezing river, and Huw dives in and valiantly holds her head above the water. The returning men find them, and sometime later, Huw overhears the doctor tell his family that Huw may never walk again. Gruffydd refuses to ... +


As fifty-year-old Huw Morgan prepares to leave his home in Cwm Rhondda, Wales, he reminisces about his family and life in his beloved valley. His memories turn to his father Gwilym, mother Beth, sister Angharad and his five older brothers, Ianto, Ivor, Gwilym, Davy and Owen. One afternoon, young Huw's world changes forever when he falls in love at first sight with Bronwyn, the beautiful young woman who is engaged to Ivor. The new preacher, Mr. Gruffydd, conducts the wedding ceremony, and he, too, finds love when he and Angharad catch each other's eye. Soon after, trouble begins when C. Evans, the owner of the coal mine, notifies everyone that wages are to be reduced. Morgan tries to rectify the situation, but when he cannot, the younger miners, including Davy and the other boys, want to organize a union and strike. Morgan refuses to allow the boys to discuss the issue at home, and so Davy, Owen, Ianto and Gwilym move out. The miners strike soon after, and as twenty-two weeks pass, everyone in the valley grows hungry and desperate. Some of the miners blame Morgan for their problems because of his opposition to the strike and begin to harass him. One bitter winter night, Beth has Huw take her to a miners' meeting, at which she castigates those who have mistreated her husband. On their journey home, Beth falls into a freezing river, and Huw dives in and valiantly holds her head above the water. The returning men find them, and sometime later, Huw overhears the doctor tell his family that Huw may never walk again. Gruffydd refuses to let Huw despair, however, and his gentle encouragment keeps the boy's spirits up. On the first day that Beth is well enough to leave her bed, Ianto, Davy, Gwilym and Owen move back home and are pleased when Gruffydd approves of the union, although he urges them to take their responsibilities seriously. Gruffydd and Morgan settle the strike with Evans, but the family suffers nonetheless when Owen and Gwilym leave for America. On a spring day soon after, Gruffydd fulfills his promise to take Huw up on the mountain to pick daffodils for Beth, and there, Huw takes his first steps since the accident. Gruffydd's relationship with Angharad does not progress as well, however, because he refuses to subject her to the hard life of a preacher's wife. Deeply hurt, Angharad weds Iestyn, Evans' son, and moves with him to South Africa even though she still loves Gruffydd. Meanwhile, Huw passes the exams for the national school and begins attending classes in the next valley, where he must deal with local bully Mervyn, and the English Mr. Jonas, a cruel teacher who hates the Welsh. One night, soon after Ivor is killed in a mining accident, Bronwyn gives birth to their son, and Huw, who has decided to work in the mine rather than attend university, goes to live in her house to keep her company. Conditions in the mine worsen and Ianto and Davy are dismissed so that Evans can hire new workers for less pay. Ianto then leaves for Canada and Davy goes to New Zealand, while Angharad returns from Capetown without her husband. She lives alone in the nearby Evans mansion, and soon the housekeeper, Mrs. Nicholas, begins spreading gossip about Angharad and Gruffydd, even though they have remained apart. The talk angers the Morgans, who refuse to attend chapel anymore after the hypocritical deacons speak out against Angharad. Gruffydd resigns from his post as well, but as he and Huw are saying farewell, they hear the warning whistle from the mine. They rush to the site and learn that Morgan and others are trapped below. While the men at the top pump out water, Huw and Gruffydd lead a rescue party into the shaft. Huw finds his father, who hugs him before dying, then takes his body above to where Beth and Angharad are waiting. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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