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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 7,615 users  
Reviews: 95 user | 30 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 and a friend overhear 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 ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

school | girl | lesbian | teacher | lie | See more »

Taglines:

One of Broadway's greatest hits...becomes powerful, adult screen drama! 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 film gets its name from a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. See more »

Goofs

Upon learning that Mrs. Tilford is telling every in town she's a lesbian, Martha Dobie (a schoolteacher who should know the difference) threatens to sue her for libel (which pertains to printed defamation of character), rather than slander (oral defamation). See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Lily Mortar: God will punish you.
Martha: He's doing all right.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rescued from the Closet (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Loch Lomond
(uncredited)
Traditional Scots-Gaelic song first published in 1841
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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