The Children’s Hour

Audrey Hepburn Marathon, part 6 of 13

Title: The Children’s Hour
Year: 1961
Length: 107 minutes
Director: William Wyler
Writer: John Michael Hayes, adapted by Lillian Hellman from her play
Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine
With: James Garner, Miriam Hopkins, Fay Bainter, Karen Balkin, Veronica Cartwright, Mimi Gibson
Music: Alex North
Cinematography: Franz Planer
Editing: Robert Swink
Oscars: nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Bainter), Best Cinematography (black-and-white), Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (black-and-white), Best Costume Design (black-and-white) and Best Sound
I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), a couple days ago
Synopsis: a kid accuses her teachers of being lesbians

My reaction
Concept:2/4 (Indifferent)
Story:2/4 (Indifferent)
Characters:4/4 (Great)
Dialog:2/4 (Indifferent)
Pacing:3/4 (Good)
Cinematography:3/4 (Good)
Special effects/design:3/4 (Good)
Acting:4/4 (Great)
Music:3/4 (Good)
Subjective Rating: 6/10 (Okay, 2/4 (Indifferent)). I don’t know what to make of this movie. The filmmakers seem to have seen the story as being about the damage of cruel gossip, whereas now its turned into a story about bigotry. A lot of it doesn’t work particularly well because of that disparity. But since the characters are done so well, it ultimately does still work. It doesn’t try to condemn or redeem its characters to make the audience feel better about things; it’s too obliviously of its time to even know where to start (or at least it was forced by the production code to appear to be oblivious). Consequently, it’s probably more powerfully tragic than a modern adaptation could be. When Audrey’s character holds her head high at the end and proudly walks away, what is that supposed to mean? Probably something very different to me than it meant to Audrey or Wyler. But maybe not.
Objective Rating (Average):2.8/4 (Good)


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