HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941) B/W 118m. dir: John Ford
w/Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Donald Crisp, Anna Lee, Roddy McDowall, Sara Allgood, Barry Fitzgerald, John Loder, Patrick Knowles, Morton Lowry
Poignant saga of a coal-mining family in Wales examines the grim, dangerous life down in the mines and the labor dispute that divides a tight-knit family presided over by a loving but iron-willed patriarch. A heart-tugging domestic drama, the film is a true ensemble piece, with all the actors shining in their roles.
From The Movie Guide: "Emotionally majestic and spiritually moving, this is one of John Ford's undisputed masterpieces, a film that neither fades nor fails after repeated viewings.
"The mining area in South Wales and its hard-working miners and their families are seen through the eyes of Huw (Roddy Mc Dowall), the youngest of six children in a family headed by a stern father (Donald Crisp) and loving mother (Sara Allgood). Set at the turn of the century and told in flashback, the film shows an unspoiled valley, full of love and warmth, wherein the trials and hardships of the community are told through a series of moving vignettes.
"Everything about this film is touching; master director John Ford builds one simple scene upon another with very little plot, using incidents in the life of one family to tell the generational tale, demonstrating changes and recording milestones. Beautifully assisted by cameraman Arthur Miller, Ford received strong support from studio chief Darryl Zanuck, who personally produced the film. The superlative cast is a Who's Who of Hollywood's Irish community, with a noble assist from Welsh singers."
Oscars were given to the film for Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor (Crisp), B&W Cinematography (Miller), and B&W Interior Decoration (Richard Day, Nathan Juran, Thomas Little). It was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Allgood), Screenplay (Philip Dunne), Editing (James B. Clark), Scoring of a Dramatic Picture (Alfred Newman), and Sound (E.H. Hansen).