IMDb > The Proud Valley (1940)
The Proud Valley
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The Proud Valley (1940) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Herbert Marshall (based on the story by) and
Alfredda Brilliant (based on the story by) ...
View company contact information for The Proud Valley on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
6 April 1940 (UK) See more »
In a Welsh coal mining valley, a young man with a beautiful singing voice is called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice when a pit disaster threatens. See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
United in Song See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Paul Robeson ... David
Edward Chapman ... Dick Parry
Simon Lack ... Emlyn Parry
Rachel Thomas ... Mrs. Parry
Edward Rigby ... Bert
Dilys Thomas ... Dilys
Janet Johnson ... Gwen Owen
Charles Williams ... Evans
Jack Jones ... Thomas
Dilys Davies ... Mrs. Owen

Clifford Evans ... Seth Jones
Allan Jeayes ... Mr. Trevor (as Alan Jeayes)
George Merritt ... Mr. Lewis
Edward Lexy ... Commissionaire
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Glyn-Jones ... Mr. Howes - Collector (uncredited)
Noel Howlett ... Company Clerk (uncredited)
Roddy Hughes ... Lloyd - Miner (uncredited)
Mike Johnson ... Cage Operator (uncredited)
Edward Keyes ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Leslie Phillips ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Grant Sutherland ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Harry Terry ... Miner (uncredited)
Ronald Ward ... Sir John (uncredited)
Babette Washington ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Ben Williams ... Will Morgan (uncredited)

Directed by
Pen Tennyson 
Writing credits
Herbert Marshall (based on the story by) and
Alfredda Brilliant (based on the story by)

Pen Tennyson (screen play) &
Jack Jones (screen play) &
Louis Golding (screen play)

Roland Pertwee  uncredited

Produced by
Michael Balcon .... producer
Sergei Nolbandov .... associate producer
Cinematography by
Roy Kellino (photography)
Glen MacWilliams (photography) (as Glen Macwilliams)
Film Editing by
Ray Pitt 
Art Direction by
Wilfred Shingleton  (as Wilfrid Shingleton)
Makeup Department
Heinrich Heitfeld .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Frederick James .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
L.C. Rudkin .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Stephen Dalby .... recordist
Eric Williams .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Wilfrid Newton .... still photographer (uncredited)
Jeff Seaholme .... camera operator (uncredited)
Music Department
Harry T. Burleigh .... music by (as H. T. Burleigh)
Ernest Irving .... music arranger
Ernest Irving .... music director
Evan James .... music by
James James .... music by
Mai Jones .... music by
Lyn Joshua .... music by
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy .... music by (as Mendelssohn)
Ernest Irving .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Tunnel" - USA (reissue title)
See more »
76 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Australia:A | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (2010) | USA:Not Rated

Did You Know?

Closing credits: The events and characters portrayed in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to any incident, name or individual is coincidental.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in "Arena: Cinema (#2.30)" (1977)See more »
Deep RiverSee more »


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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
United in Song, 13 December 2008
Author: dougdoepke from Claremont, USA

I caught this 1930's curiosity on an outlying PBS channel at 2 a.m.— thank goodness for recorders, otherwise 5 people probably saw it at that hour. In all my years of old movie watching, I don't recall Proud Valley being shown in big market LA. My point is that for decades Robeson's few films were withheld for political reasons, and when finally released, had become dated curiosity pieces with graveyard show times. Too bad, because Robeson is a cultural treasure whose misfortune was to ally with one of the most aggressive anti-racist forces of his time, the American communist party. Whatever the wisdom of that move, given the circumstances, it was an understandable alliance, at least in my little book.

Robeson's name may be above the title, but he really shares the starring role with the Welsh mining community he becomes a part of. I expect that's one reason this was his favorite film. He really has only one spotlight vocal, but it's a show-stopper, a terrifically moving version of the old spiritual Deep River. Otherwise, he blends into an ensemble cast, even though his sheer presence remains commanding throughout.

It's a good story, about a community surviving the shutdown of its central coal mining industry. There are echoes of leftist styles here, particularly in the mobilized-crowd scenes with their banners, etc. Nonetheless, as another reviewer astutely points out, labor issues are folded into the larger war effort that was then breaking out (late 1939) along the Polish corridor. In fact, by the look of the latter sequences, I wouldn't be surprised if some re- editing and re-shooting were involved to keep abreast of fast moving global events.

There are several arresting scenes. The set for the Robeson solo with the huge choral backdrop remains impressive even by today's standards and accentuates this, the film's emotional centerpiece. Another eye-catcher is the unemployed men picking over the mountainous slag heap like starving birds amid growing desperation. Also, the collapsing mine tunnel looks almost too real to be a "special effect", and I'm still wondering how they did it in those days before blue screens and digitalized computers.

Anyway, here's hoping Turner Classic Movies finally decides to show a Robeson film, especially this one, at a decent hour, so a broader American public can catch up with a cultural treasure long denied them. Too bad, the great actor-singer-athlete had to go to Europe to find the kind of dignified roles he was so beautifully suited for.

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