How Green Was My Valley (1941)
What a year for best Movie nominations: Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, Suspicion, Sergeant York and How Green Was My Valley, but the nod went to HGWMV. This is the closest that you will come to a film being art in its beauty. It is ironic that a movie that refers to a colour and nature should be filmed in black and white. This was done because the colour of flowers in Southern California did not match those found in Wales. WW2 and the bombing of London made filming in Wales too risky. Instead, a replica was made of the Welsh mining town in California.
The story of a humble but proud Welsh mining family, told through the eyes of the youngest son, Huw Morgan. Set at the turn of the century, the film tells of the various lives of the characters against a backdrop of a disintegrating family unit and the passing of an era.
Huw Morgan: I am packing my belongings in the shawl my mother used to wear when she went to the market. And I'm going from my valley. And this time, I shall never return. I am leaving behind me my fifty years of memory. Memory. Strange that the mind will forget so much of what only this moment has passed, and yet hold clear and bright the memory of what happened years ago - of men and women long since dead. Yet who shall say what is real and what is not? Can I believe my friends all gone when their voices are still a glory in my ears? No. And I will stand to say no and no again, for they remain a living truth within my mind. There is no fence nor hedge round Time that is gone. You can go back and have what you like of it, if you can remember. So I can close my eyes on my Valley as it is today - and it is gone - and I see it as it was when I was a boy. Green it was, and possessed of the plenty of the earth. In all Wales, there was none so beautiful.
Opening monologue of the above speech:
The author, Richard Llewellyn, continued the story about Huw Morgan's life in 3 sequels. 'Up into the Singing Mountain' (1960) in which Huw emigrates to Argentina; 'Down Where the Moon is Small' (1966), Huw's life in Welsh-speaking parts of Argentina; and 'Green, Green My Valley Now' (1975), in which Huw returns to Wales. None of these have been made into films, and 'How Green Was My Valley' is still the most consistently popular novel of the series.