Two school teachers and the man they both love face ruin when a malicious student cooks up a lie.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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Catherine Doucet ...
Mrs. Lily Mortar (as Catharine Doucet)
Alma Kruger ...
...
Marcia Mae Jones ...
Carmencita Johnson ...
Mary Anne Durkin ...
Joyce Walton (as Mary Ann Durkin)
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...
Taxi Driver
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Storyline

This first film version of "The Children's Hour" uses a heterosexual triangle rather than the play's lesbian theme. The plot concerns schoolteachers Karen Wright and Martha Dobie, both of whom are in love with Dr. Joe Cardin. The malicious lie of one of their students involves all three in a scandal which disrupts all their lives. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

school | student | teacher | lie | scandal | See All (46) »

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Were they the innocent victims of a whispering campaign? (Poster).

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

18 March 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Children's Hour  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Wide Range Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1961, director William Wyler remade the film as The Children's Hour (1961), with the lesbian theme intact, starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine. Miriam Hopkins, who plays Martha Dobie in this film, plays her aunt, Lily Mortar, in the 1961 film. See more »

Goofs

Before Mrs. Tilford's maid slaps Mary (Bonita Granville) in one of the final scenes of the film, she grabs the girl and says, "Bonita, come here." See more »

Quotes

Martha Dobie: Yours, your very own. To live with the rest of your life. There won't be a move she makes or a thing she says that won't frighten you.
Mrs. Amelia Tilford: Yes. And that will be my punishment.
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Connections

Referenced in Rescued from the Closet (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

I cannot tell a lie--brilliant!!
11 January 2003 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

This version of Lillian Hellman's play "The Children's Hour" is by far more satisfying than the Audrey Hepburn-Shirley MacLaine remake in the 1960s which retained the lesbianism theme while revolving around a child's lie.

Instead, this earlier William Wyler version changes the slanderous lie to a heterosexual one--and none of the power is lost in the telling of a tale about a manipulative young girl's lie that destroys the lives of three innocent people.

The acting is all on an extraordinarily high level here--everyone, from Merle Oberon to Miriam Hopkins to Joel McCrea and especially little Bonita Granville (as a liar who even stoops to blackmail to keep her lie afloat). As the terrorized girl, Marcia Mae Jones is every bit as adept as the others in making the entire story a convincing one.

The power of a lie to destroy others has never been more effectively played out than it is here. Under William Wyler's direction, the screenplay has been expanded with enough outdoor scenes to keep the film from seeming like a filmed stage play.

Joel McCrea has never been more effective in a sympathetic role. He and Merle Oberon are impressive and wholly believable as the young lovers. Miriam Hopkins has a difficult role and she handles it brilliantly. Bonita Granville fully deserved her Oscar nomination as the monstrous girl, sparing nothing to make her one of the most hateful brats in screen history.

Well worth watching for some brilliant performances and a compelling story.


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