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
William Wyler cut several scenes hinting at Martha's homosexuality for fear of not receiving the seal of approval from the Motion Picture Production Code. At the time, any story about homosexuality was forbidden by the production code. See more »
At 9:26 Mary is on top of her bed covers, then under them, then gets under them. 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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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.
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