Monday, August 30, 2010

1941: How Green Was My Valley

This film is INCREDIBLY depressing!  It was powerful and well-put-together, for the most part, but oh my goodness, what a downer!

Basically, it's about this big family in a little Welsh coal mining town.  They start off happy enough, but then something bad happens to them, and then something else bad happens, and then another bad thing happens, over and over throughout the entire film.  Yes, there are a few good things that happen, but they either turn out bad or are immediately followed by an unrelated bad event.  Super depressing.

The beginning is kind of confusing, partly because they all have really weird names - like Angharad, Gwillym, Ianto, and Cyfartha - and there are so many brothers in the family.  But once the brothers start leaving or dying, it's easier to keep the remaining ones straight.  I think the best aspect of the movie is Roddy McDowall as the adorable little kid.  Even though bad stuff keeps happening around him, and to him, he still believes that people are ultimately good, he keeps his enthusiasm for life, and he knows that the loved ones who have left or died are still with him in spirit.  That is the only truly uplifting aspect of this film, though it is uplifting in a rather dismal way.  I love when Walter Pidgeon helps him walk again, after the doctor has said he probably won't, and the faith that they both have (some of that gets lost later in the film, but thankfully not all of it).  My other favorite part of is Walter Pidgeon's diatribe against the hypocritical deacons, but the coal mine caves in before we find out if they get the message or not.  Basically, this film just made me feel really, really lucky to not live in a Welsh coal mining town at the turn of the century.

Coming up next: Mrs. Miniver

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