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
Screenwriter John Michael Hayes was so faithful to Lillian Hellman's play that large chunks of the dialogue are identical to the dialogue in These Three (1936), the 1936 film version of The Children's Hour, for which Lillian Hellman herself wrote the adaptation and screenplay - this, despite the fact that These Three (1936) was a watered-down, censored version of The Children's Hour. See more »
At 38:16, the plan in the woman's right hand disappears. 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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Lillian Hellman is an American Icon. A woman ahead of her time, in every department. Her women are never easy to read but they are real. From the icy Regina in "The Little Foxes" to the sisters of "Toys In The Attic" - Jane Fonda played her, brilliantly, in "Julia", Here, her women walked a slightly edgier plane."The Children's Hours" was a big Broadway success and William Wyler, one of the best, directed the film version as "These Three" in the 1930's, washing away any reference to homosexuality. I think that may be one of the reasons why he remade it in 1961 under its original title "The Children's Hour" Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner, Fay Bainter and Miriam Hopkins who also was in the original in Shirley MacLaine's part. The film is compelling and looks wonderful and I think it's more a document of its day by one of the most courageous writers of her day. The strange thing here is that the women are the ones who remain firmly in their day, they show us the outrage from their perspective and that's why it feels "dated" They would behave very differently today but not the rich southerners. I believe, they would also remove their children from the school. just like they did then. The oppressed have move on but the oppressors, have diminished in numbers, but they havent changed much. A fascinating film.
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