The Children's Hour by William Wyler |Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner | 738329135720 | DVD | Barnes & Noble
Children's Hour

The Children's Hour

4.2 4
Director: William Wyler

Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner

     
 

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Based on the 1934 play by Lillian Hellman, The Children's Hour is set at an exclusive girl's school managed by best friends Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine. When student Karen Balkin is punished for one of her many misdeeds, the mean-spirited youngster rushes to her wealthy aunt Fay Bainter, and, randomly choosing a phrase she has undoubtedly read in some

Overview

Based on the 1934 play by Lillian Hellman, The Children's Hour is set at an exclusive girl's school managed by best friends Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine. When student Karen Balkin is punished for one of her many misdeeds, the mean-spirited youngster rushes to her wealthy aunt Fay Bainter, and, randomly choosing a phrase she has undoubtedly read in some magazine, accuses Hepburn and MacLaine of having an "unnatural relationship." As Balkin's lies grow in viciousness, the student's parents withdraw their children from the school. Hepburn and MacLaine sue Bainter for libel, only to lose their case when MacLaine's aunt Miriam Hopkins refuses to testify as a character witness. The trial takes its toll on the relationship between Hepburn and her boyfriend James Garner. When Bainter discovers that her niece has been lying, she tries to make amends, but it is too late. Director William Wyler had also helmed the first film version of Children's Hour, 1936's These Three, which due to censorship restrictions of the time did without the lesbian angle (the little girl's accusations involved a supposed romantic triangle between the two ladies and a male friend). Miriam Hopkins, who plays a supporting role in The Children's Hour, originally essayed the Shirley MacLaine role in These Three.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Apart from their notorious personal relationship, the literary intersection of longtime lovers Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett was a fascinating one. Just as Hammett's bright but brief career was coming to a close, Hellman's was beginning. Interestingly, it was Hammett who gave Hellman the original topic for her first play, 1934's The Children's Hour, and coached her through the many rewrites. The work dealt with an accusation of lesbianism in a private school for girls, and while controversial for the times, the play brought her to the forefront of American playwrights. Though denied consideration for a Pulitzer Prize due to the subject matter, Hellman would work with director William Wyler to bring the story to the screen two years later as These Three. Due to the play's notoriety, the title, the lesbian element and one of the main character's suicides had to be altered to meet the standards of the Hollywood Production Code. The movie turned out quite well regardless of the changes, but a full quarter of a century later, Wyler decided to remake These Three true to its original text. Even in 1962, acknowledging lesbianism as a sexual identity in a movie was hardly commonplace -- only a scant few had, including the excellent German film Mädchen in Uniform and 1950's Caged. Wyler and his two female leads, Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn, do an admirable job of staying true to the material without diminishing its impact.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/12/2014
UPC:
0738329135720
Original Release:
1961
Rating:
NR
Source:
Kl Studio Classics
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:47:00
Sales rank:
4,084

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Audrey Hepburn Karen Wright
Shirley MacLaine Martha Dobie
James Garner Dr. Joe Cardin
Miriam Hopkins Mrs. Lily Mortar
Fay Bainter Amelia Tilford
Karen Balkin Mary Tilford
Veronica Cartwright Rosalie
William Mims Actor
Florence MacMichael Actor
Jered Barclay Grocery Boy
Mimi Gibson Student
Hope Summers Old Lady

Technical Credits
William Wyler Director,Producer
Edward Boyle Set Decoration/Design
Fernando Carrere Art Director
John Michael Hayes Screenwriter
Dorothy Jeakins Costumes/Costume Designer
Fred Lau Sound/Sound Designer
Emile LaVigne Makeup
Alex North Score Composer
Franz Planer Cinematographer
Robert E. Relyea Asst. Director
Robert Swink Editor
Robert Wyler Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Children's Hour
1. Chapter 1 [:00]
2. Chapter 2 [11:00]
3. Chapter 3 [7:18]
4. Chapter 4 [14:08]
5. Chapter 5 [17:10]
6. Chapter 6 [16:16]
7. Chapter 7 [18:10]
8. Chapter 8 [10:24]
9. Chapter 9 [13:41]

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