How Green was my Valley

Epic saga of the Morgan family of a small Welsh mining village, directed by legendary John Ford, starring Maureen O’Hara, Walter Pidgeon, Donald Crisp, Roddy McDowell, Anna Lee among others.

The Morgans are a hard working righteous family, the father and his sons working in a mine, except Huw (Roddy McDowell) who is sometimes the narrator of the movie. They earn their daily wages, sing Welsh songs, go back home, bathe thoroughly and eat dinner only after they have said their prayers. First signs of trouble erupt when mine owners decide to reduce their wages, which Senior Morgan (Donald Crisp) agrees with, commiserating with the owners, but the sons don’t see eye to eye with their father. Four of them leave home over differences with the dad.

The eldest one, Ivor gets married to Anna Lee. One of the sons is invited to sing a choir at the Buckingham Palace with his choir team. Many miners lose their job. Their daughter Angharad (Maureen O’Hara) is meanwhile smitten by the pastor Gruffydd (Walter Pidgeon) but he can’t provide her comfort with his parish kind of tough life. She gets married to the mine owner’s son and relocates out of the country.

Meanwhile young Huw goes to school, gets bullied, comes back, learns boxing, goes back to school and trumps his beaters. But he decides to do colliery work instead of going to town to study medicine or law. Two of the Morgans leave for greener pastures in America. Two more leave after they have been discharged by the mines. There is a mine accident, in which Ivor loses his life on the same day that his wife Anna Lee gives birth to a boy.

Another disaster happens when there is a cave in, which takes the life of senior Morgan clutching to his dearest youngest son, while his life slipped away. Donald Crisp as the father has done a magnificent role in the movie as has Maureen O’Hara, Walter Pidgeon and Roddy McDowell as the child artiste. Sara Aligood as Beth Morgan the mother is also very good.

John Ford’s direction is magnificent as is the music, cinematography which is quite breathtaking. It has won a clutch of awards at the Oscars.

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