How Green Was My Valley (1941)

<strong class="MovieTitle">How Green Was My Valley</strong> (1941)

(On Cable TV, March 2018) Not all Oscar-winning movies are created equal, and it’s mind-boggling that a dull movie such as How Green Was My Valley would beat out Citizen Kane as the best picture of 1941. Not that this is entirely surprising: Director John Ford’s film is the kind of maudlin chronicle of a small town that Hollywood finds it easy to love. Unchallenging, promoting easy virtues and executed with maximum pathos thanks to a few well-chosen deaths and overall atmosphere of nostalgic longing, topped with an entirely respectable sad ending. The title tells you almost everything you need to know. How you’ll react is up to you—I found myself intermittently entertained by some of the episodes, but generally bored by the entire thing. The black-and-white cinematography, though excellent, does How Green Was My Valley no favour—it’s one of those rare cases where a colour film would have been more appropriate (and not solely for Maureen O’Hara’s red hair). Everyone’s mileage will vary. I’d rather watch Citizen Kane another time.

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