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The Children's Hour (1961)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  19 December 1961 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 9,393 users  
Reviews: 105 user | 38 critic

A troublemaking student at a girls' school accuses two teachers of being lesbians.

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(play), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Children's Hour (1961)

The Children's Hour (1961) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Fay Bainter ...
Karen Balkin ...
...
Mimi Gibson ...
Debbie Moldow
Diane Mountford
William Mims ...
Mr. Burton
Sally Brophy ...
Rosalie's Mother (as Sallie Brophy)
...
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Storyline

Karen Wright and Martha Dobie are best friends since college and they own the boarding school Wright and Dobie School for Girls with twenty students. They are working hard as headmistresses and teachers to grow the school and make it profitable. Karen is engaged with the local doctor Joe Cardin, who is the nephew of the powerful and influent Mrs. Amelia Tilford. While the spiteful and liar Mary, who is Amelia's granddaughter and a bad influence to the other girls, is punished by Karen after telling a lie, Martha has an argument with her snoopy aunt Lily Mortar in another room. Lily accuses Martha of being jealous and having an unnatural relationship with Karen. Mary's roommate Rosalie Wells overhears the shouting and tells Mary what Mrs. Mortar had said about her niece. The malicious Mary accuses Karen and Martha of being lesbians to her grandmother and Amelia spreads the gossip to the parents of the students that withdraw them from the school. Karen and Martha lose a lawsuit against ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

different . . . See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 December 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Infamous!  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,600,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The start of the movie implies that Mary gets the idea to "accuse" Karen and Martha of lesbianism from a forbidden book that gets passed around secretly among the school's students. Although this book is not identified by title in the movie, Hellman's play specifies that the book is Mademoiselle de Maupin by Théophile Gautier, a French novel published in 1835. The novel concerns a woman who disguises herself as a man and has both a woman and a man fall in love with her, so it did contain at least the concept of lesbianism and therefore answers the question of how Mary could have conceived of the charge she levels against Martha and Karen without ever actually seeing them engage in any romantic or sexual activity. See more »

Goofs

Starting at 55:24, Amelia's hand is fully on the piano when looking at her, but on the edge of the piano when seen from behind. This changes three times. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Amelia Tilford: I don't believe this talk of jealousy between Miss Dobie and Miss Wright.
Mary Tilford: But I didn't say she was jealous of Miss Wright. I said that Mrs. Mortar said that Miss Dobie was jealous of cousin Joe.
See more »

Connections

Featured in One Nation Under God (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Comin' through the Rye
(uncredited)
Traditional Scottish children's song
Lyrics from a poem by Robert Burns (1782)
Included in piano medley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A very intriguing film.
25 November 2003 | by (Illinois, United States) – See all my reviews

I just watched "The Children's Hour" for the first time this evening. I must say that I was very impressed. Hepburn and MacLaine gave brilliant performances as the two headmistresses of a girl's school. The cinema photography was outstanding and the direction and writing were fantastic.

Turner Classic Movies ran this gorgeous film this evening and the comments that were made after the run brought several thoughts to mind. After viewing the movie, I decided to get on-line and see what others had to say about this film.

The one comment that was made tonight was that it was thought that the film didn't really `appeal' to the heightened sensibility of the audiences of the 60's. However, I felt that the movie was timeless in its observations and portrayals of its two main characters. Grant it, homosexuality was NOT the main focus of this movie but it does play a very important, albeit, small role.

In today's society, homosexuality is more widely accepted than it was at the time this play was written. However, there is one area in society that it is still 'taboo' to be gay and that is in the teaching profession. There are STILL, more than 40 years after this movie was made, teachers that cannot be who they really are for fear of losing their jobs, the respect of their peers and the trust of parents. Grant it this is not in every part of the country, in every town, but it is still as thus in small-town America. I know this for fact, as I am the life-partner of a teacher. I know what it is like for him to have to hide who he really is and the torture that he goes through because of it. Children can say some very vicious things and I have seen what it can do to a person first-hand. This is why I feel that this picture is very 'true to life'; because in so many ways this is still the way things are today.

Indeed, more people should see this movie! Maybe people would think before spreading rumors. This is a prime example of what one comment can do to a person's life and how it can snowball.


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