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C. Aubrey Smith
Life is hard in a Welsh mining town and no less so for the Morgan family. Seen through the eyes of the family's youngest, Huw, we learn of the family's trials and tribulations. Family patriarch Gwilym and his older sons work in the mines, dangerous and unhealthy as it is. Gwilym has greater hopes for his youngest son, but Huw has his own ideas on how to honor his father. Daughter Angharad is the most beautiful girl in the valley and is very much in love with Mr. Gruffydd, who isn't sure he can provide her the life she deserves. Times are hard and good men find themselves out of work and exploited by unseen mine owners. Written by
For the most part, the atmosphere on the set was totally congenial, with John Ford trusting his cast to deliver strong performances with a minimum of guidance. The one problem for Maureen O'Hara occurred when she pointed out - in front of the cast and crew - that the basket with which she and Sara Allgood were supposed to receive Donald Crisp's weekly wages was not of the period. In response to what he considered her breach of etiquette, he removed her from the scene. An hour later, an assistant called her back to the set and handed her a new, historically accurate basket, so Ford could shoot the scene with her in it. See more »
When Huw comes home after being beaten by his teacher, there is no blood or marks on his back. See more »
It is with me now, so many years later. And it makes me think of so much that is good, that is gone.
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This movie is a little long at times, but this is still a powerful story about the many stories that came out of the coal mining families in Wales, Great Britain. One of the top aspects of the movie is the cinematography, under the direction of John Ford. It is very effective. You can just feel the grime and dirt of the mines and cobblestone town. It looks really good now that's it out on DVD.
Walter Pigeon is the likable minister, and lead character, "Mr. Gruffydd." He's likable because he doesn't judge people as the head deacon does. The latter is portrayed ludicrously by Barry Fitzgerald, much to the delight of secular-minded film critics, who loved his performance. Nonetheless, there is a lot of "religion" pictured positively in this film, a lot of spiritual scenes and most were done well.
Roddy McDowell plays the most memorable character, I thought: "Huw," a young boy who went through some really tough times, as did most of the townsfolk.
If you are used to modern films, be warned this film does drag in spots. It is a fine movie, to be sure, and a powerful and emotional story.
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