THESE THREE (1936) B/W 93m dir: William Wyler
w/Miriam Hopkins, Merle Oberon, Joel McCrea, Catharine Doucet, Alma Kruger, Bonita Granville, Marcia Mae Jones, Carmencita Johnson, Mary Anne Durkin, Margaret Hamilton
Lillian Hellman's adaptation of her play takes place at a posh private school where a scandal concerning two teachers (Hopkins and Oberon) is ignited by a vicious schoolgirl (Granville).
From The Movie Guide: "One of Wyler's finest films, and the occasion for one of the finest Goldwynisms. When warned that the play he'd just bought, Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour, was about lesbians, [producer Samuel] Goldwyn supposedly replied, 'That's okay: we'll turn them into Americans.' Although Hellman's screenplay jettisons explicit lesbianism in conformance with the Hays Code, the resulting movie abounds with repressed eroticism and is far superior to Wyler's post-Code remake THE CHILDREN'S HOUR. ...
"Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour appeared on Broadway for over 600 performances. Samuel Goldwyn took advantage of the notoriety of Hellman's first stage effort by releasing the movie while the play was still running. He'd purchased the rights for $50,000, but the Production Code people insisted he remove much of what made the play such a sensation. Goldwyn hired Hellman to make the alterations. Despite the script changes, though, there are many moments when it seems that Hopkins in more interested in Oberon than in McCrea. However one reads it, THESE THREE is gripping, adult cinema. Oberon gives one of her best dramatic performances and McCrea is also quite fine. The two child actresses [Granville and Jones] have the showiest parts, but the real performances to watch are those of Alma Kruger [who plays Granville's grandmother] and Miriam Hopkins. Hopkins, in particular, has rarely been better, her intense, high-strung quality perfectly suited to the role of a woman unable to stop her world from falling apart around her. In both cases, the major problem was making the audience believe in the character portrayed by Granville (Karen Balkin in the remake). This was the first of eight collaborations for Goldwyn and Wyler and the first for Wyler and the masterful Gregg Toland, who died at 44 after having photographed almost half of Goldwyn's output. Despite Granville's superb acting, she lost the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress to Gale Sondergaard for her work in ANTHONY ADVERSE. Other than MAID OF SALEM (1937) and some Nancy Drew movies, Granville never really did get another chance at bat, eventually marrying millionaire Jack Wrather and becoming a producer [of the Lassie TV series, for one example]. Her work in THESE THREE was a revelation for audiences accustomed to seeing sweet little girls like Shirley Temple onscreen."
Granville's Best Supporting Actress nomination was the only one the film received.