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 influential 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 ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Re-titled The Loudest Whisper for UK release to avoid confusion with the BBC's popular Children's Hour slot on radio and TV. See more »
During the first scene you meet James Garner's character speaking to Shirley MacLaine, she finishes drying one older pot, then starts on a new pot. They cut away to a wide shot, and she is still drying the older pot, then, once again, starts on the new pot. See more »
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.
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I've seen the Hays Code version of the 30s movie with Miriam Hopkins and Merle Oberon... and now the 1961 version ... I'm glad Wyler had a chance to bring out more of the theme. I've read some comments.... this is not at all dated if one knows the perils gay people have to teach.... and remember this was also a boarding school..... with the society moving toward anti-gay bashing again.... the reaction of a potential gay teacher at a school WOULD indeed raise eyebrows. For some reason society looks on gays as the sicko perverts that kill these poor little ones that are kidnapped out here ( oddly look at some recently...there are pedophiles... but not gay). Anyway the film is acted incredibly well. Shirley MacLaine gives a tour-de-force dramatic acting job in the film. I've rarely ever seen anything Hepburn was in that isn't interesting and leaves one with a curious scratching of the head to figure out the individual at the end ... her scene walking away at the end sparks a curiosity...might she have repressed a love beyond girl-hood friendship for MacLaine in the film. Fay Bainter, to me, though produces one of the best supporting roles in a movie to date. She was totally believable as the homophobic rich grandmother.... not unlike so many in society today ...... unless you are gay people... you have no idea of the Society disapproval and she is so right on. Miriam Hopkins captures the aunt in a far more tawdry, sleazy way than the original actress in the 30s version. Unfortunately if this movie is ever made again.... in my age, it will still be sanitized for Hollywood and ironically the 1961 version will probably be the truest to the original story. Garner is very innocent in his role as the love interest and very believable. The little grandchild reminds me of the girl -- in the Bad Seed...... if the 2 of them matched wits ... they'd be on Wide World of Wrestling -- Evil Children's star edition." This movie is excellent cinema, an actors' movie. A true classic.
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