Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
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
Program notes on back of both of US VHS and DVD editions claim that Katharine Hepburn was sought for one of lead roles that eventually went to Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine, both of whom played teachers newly-graduated from college. By early Sixties, Hepburn was far too old for either role and, if ever actually considered for a part in the movie, would have been suitable only for far more mature roles played by Miriam Hopkins or, more likely, Fay Bainter. See more »
The position of Martha's arms changes between shots in the last scenes when she is trying to sleep in her room. See more »
The Children's Hour is a powerful film dealing with the effects of lies and discrimination. Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn give terrific performances as 2 girl school teachers accused of being lesbians. Their lives are ruined by an obnoxious little girl who spreads lies. The film is dated in that society today wouldn't bat an eyelash over such a sitation (in fact their school today would probably set attendance records) but you can substitute any minority or ethnic group for the 2 lead characters and see how people can suffer at the hand of discrimination. The movie is based upon the Lillian Hellman play and recommended for movie buffs of all ages.
22 of 28 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?