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When young Robert Shannon is orphaned he leaves his home in Ireland and travels to Langford, Scotland, home of his maternal grandparents. Growing up in the home of his penny-pinching grandfather is made bearable by his doting but irresponsible great-grandfather, loving grandmother and kind aunt and uncle. After a rocky start in his new school Robbie adjusts and is befriended by Gavin and Allison, whom he grows to love as the years pass. As he matures into a young man Robbie's dreams turn to medicine and becoming a doctor. Supported by everyone in the family except his grandfather, he studies for a scholarship as a way to escape life toiling in the local boiler-works.Written by
Ron Kerrigan <email@example.com>
If anything this film gives us a look at some overlooked talent within Hollywood, also of work overlooked by some film critics. Firstly the overlooked talent: MGM for not utilizing the remarkable Beverly Tyler, this natural talent sang like an Angel and looking back at her superb performance of a prime number from Handel's Messiah, it leaves you wondering why? ~ could it be because she might not have 'played the game' in Hollywooodland...
Secondly, overlooked works by Critics: Over the years there have been many examples of certain critics uniformly choosing to bag various works (including this one). To cite just a few: "We are not Alone" '39 (Muni) ~ "Rapture" '65 (Stockwell again) ~ "Walk on the Wild Side" '62 (turned a trashy Nelson Algren book into a decent look at life during the 1930s) ~ "The Arrangement" '69 (Elia Kazan's biting observations of the excesses of advertising-TV's 'Mad Men' series copied aspects of this one). These were all astute productions, offering in-depth character studies brought to life via highly effective performances. Reading between the lines of selected reviews it seems evident some critics either chose not to support, or did not get the intended messages (?). Whatever the reasons, their cynicism can often be evident. In the case of 'The Green Years' anyone who knows how to enjoy golden years movie making, should find it stands on solid legs of it's own. It's rather odd this classic has been little seen over the years (despite it being very popular in it's initial release!). In some respects it now seems even better in comparison to many of the sub-standard productions that have followed it.
The entire cast could not be more perfect, bringing A.J.Cronin's multi-layered characters vibrantly to life. Charles Couburn as grandfather is a hoot (despite his amber failings). Dean Stockwell as the orphaned lad is as reliable as you could ever hope for. The screenplay adaption of Cronin's classic novel keeps all the essential ingredients moving along strongly. Award winner George Folsey as cinematographer, captures striking visuals under the deft call of versatile director Victor Saville. The whole experience results in a shining encapsulation of the pathos, drama, and humour of a young man's journey into manhood.
This movie is up there with the likes of "Kings Row" '42 and Cronin's earlier classic from '38 "The Citadel". If you're too cynical to allow natural sentiment to enter your movie experience, then this may not be for you...but then again, nostalgia and sentiments travel hand in hand through all our lives. Novelists, poets, songwriters, all relate to melancholic reminiscences. You might be fortunate to find it available on Warner Archive DVD, otherwise tune into TCM (their print may not be terrific but is better than others I've seen). Recommended for lovers of first class classics....junk lovers, beware. KenR
Footnote: planktonrules from Florida, has posted a neat summery for comparison ~ although I disagree with his comment about too many story elements. Any details that were major in the book needed to be included in the film, having said that, I'm pleased the film makers did not opt for an over long running time (I also note: the print I saw on TCM ran 120mins not 127m as listed on IMDb) Not sure what was going on there but I was quite happy with it anyway.
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