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The Children's Hour (1961)

 -  Drama  -  19 December 1961 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 8,570 users  
Reviews: 103 user | 36 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

A private school for young girls is scandalized when one spiteful student, Mary Tilford, accuses the two young women who run the school of having a lesbian relationship. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One simple lie destroyed everything they had. 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:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original stage-play was partly inspired by an actual case in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1810. A pupil named Jane Cumming falsely accused her schoolmistresses, Jane Pirie and Marianne Woods, of having an affair. Dame Cumming Gordon, the accuser's influential grandmother, advised her friends to remove their daughters from the boarding school. Within days the school was deserted and the two women had lost their livelihood. Pirie and Woods sued and eventually won, both in court and on appeal, but given the damage done to their lives, their victory was considered hollow. 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. Lily Mortar: Any day that he's in the house is a bad day. You can't stand them being together and you're taking out on me. You've always had a jealous, possessive nature even as a child. If you had a friend, you'd be upset if she liked anybody else. And that's what's happening now. And it's unnatural. It's just as unnatural as it can be.
See more »


Soundtracks

"No Place Like Home' (uncredited)
Lyrics by John Howard Payne
Music by H.R. Bishop (as Sir Henry Bishop)
Included in piano medley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Cruel and Heartbreaking Story about the Destructive Power of a Lie
20 February 2011 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

Karen Wright (Audrey Hepburn) and Martha Dobie (Shirley MacLaine) 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 (James Garner), who is the nephew of the powerful and influent Mrs. Amelia Tilford (Fay Bainter). While the spiteful and liar Mary (Karen Balkin), 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 (Miriam Hopkins) in another room. Lily accuses Martha of being jealous and having an unnatural relationship with Karen. Mary's roommate Rosalie Wells (Veronica Cartwright) 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 Amelia and have their lives destroyed. Further, Karen calls off her engagement with Joe when he asks her if what was said about Martha and she was true. The lie ends in a tragedy.

"The Children's Hour" is a cruel and heartbreaking story that shows how destructive power of a lie may be. William Wyler is among my favorite directors and this film is a little gem with a magnificent screenplay. Shirley MacLaine has awesome performance in the role of a woman that does not accept her (homo) sexual preference and the girl Karen Balkin is amazing in the role of one of the meanest characters I have ever seen. In the mid 90's, in São Paulo, Brazil, the owners of the Escola Base were falsely accused of pedophilia in a national scandal and had their lives destroyed. Years later, it was proved that they were innocent, in a case of life copycatting fiction. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Infâmia" ("Infamy")


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