The Corn Is Green

Overview

In this 1945 filmization of Emlyn Williams' semi-autobiographical 1938 play The Corn is Green, Bette Davis steps into the role originated on Broadway by Ethel Barrymore. Davis plays Miss Moffat, a turn-of-the-century schoolteacher in a Welsh mining town. She has opened her own school in hopes of lowering the town's illiteracy rate, thus enabling the younger residents to seek out more fulfilling lives than merely sweating away in the mines until they drop. She runs into a great deal of resistance from mine-owner ...
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Overview

In this 1945 filmization of Emlyn Williams' semi-autobiographical 1938 play The Corn is Green, Bette Davis steps into the role originated on Broadway by Ethel Barrymore. Davis plays Miss Moffat, a turn-of-the-century schoolteacher in a Welsh mining town. She has opened her own school in hopes of lowering the town's illiteracy rate, thus enabling the younger residents to seek out more fulfilling lives than merely sweating away in the mines until they drop. She runs into a great deal of resistance from mine-owner Nigel Bruce, who realizes that as soon as the citizens can read and write, they'll rebel against his benevolent despotry. Even Miss Moffat concludes that her mission is hopeless until she is visited by young miner John Dall, who wants to know "what is behind all those books." Within two years, Dall has made so much progress that he has qualified for Oxford. A last-minute snag involving Dall's illegitimate child is solved when Miss Moffet herself agrees to adopt the baby so that her student can complete his education. Emlyn Williams himself came from a backward mining town, and was himself inspired to better things by a compassionate schoolteacher; the pregnancy angle was probably added to provide the story with a third act. The Corn is Green was remade for television in 1978, with Katharine Hepburn as Miss Moffat. Watch for one amusing gaffe in the original: despite carefully setting up the premise that the villagers are illiterate, they are shown hovering around a poster and reading it out loud in an early scene.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Although The Corn is Green is somewhat dated -- mostly due to its carefully-delineated three-act stage structure and its sometimes-arch speeches -- it still packs an emotional wallop. Yes, it's manipulative and the strings tend to show a bit, but it's presented with such conviction and talent that most viewers will be glad to be taken along for an enjoyable ride. The basic set-up -- strong-willed woman comes to backward Welsh town with determination and an agenda -- is practically irresistible, and it provides the cast with a number of dramatic set-pieces that they take full advantage of. Leading the charge is Bette Davis, whose towering performance takes advantage of her range of skills. If her acting is occasionally showy, it fits the part, and for the most part, she manages admirable restraint and taste. Her scenes with John Dall are especially memorable, full of sparks of lightning and an understated sexual tension. Dall more than holds his own, giving back as good as he gets and creating a memorable portrait of unrefined genius buried beneath both ignorance and a fear of discovery. Joan Lorring is also memorable as the slatternly Bessie, making something very much out of a line like "Oh, I've hurt my knee!" Irving Rapper does well at the helm, keeping things moving and pointing up the drama without overemphasizing it, and effectively creating an expansive outdoor atmosphere that contrasts with the rather claustrophobic setting of the classroom. Corn would be remade for TV in the 1970s, with Katharine Hepburn assaying the lead role.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/25/2012
  • UPC: 883316616956
  • Original Release: 1945
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Region Code: 0
  • Presentation: Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:54:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 6,140

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bette Davis Miss Lilly Moffat
Nigel Bruce The Squire
John Dall Morgan Evans
Joan Lorring Bessie Watty
Mildred Dunnock Miss Ronberry
Rhys Williams Mr. Jones
Rosalind Ivan Mrs. Watty
Arthur Shields William Davis
Gwyneth Hughes Sarah Pugh
Thomas Louden Old Tom
Billy Roy Idwal Morris
Brandon Hurst Lewellyn Powell
Tony Ellis Will Hughes
Leslie Vincent John Owen
Robert Cherry Dai Evans
Gene Ross Gwilym Jones
Robert Regent Rhys Norman
Herbert Evans
David Hilary Hughes
Robert Cory Miners in Bar
Adeline Reynolds Old Woman Reading
John Dehner Welshman
Sarah Edwards Mrs. Watty's Friend
Margaret Hoffman Militant Corps woman
George Mathews Trap Driver
Leonard Mudie Station Master
Rhoda Williams Wylodine
Edmund Breon
Technical Credits
Irving Rapper Director
Frank Cavett Screenwriter
Jack Chertok Producer
Robert B. Lee Sound/Sound Designer
Fred MacLean Set Decoration/Design
Orry-Kelly Costumes/Costume Designer
Sol Polito Cinematographer
Frederick Richards Editor
Casey Robinson Screenwriter
Max Steiner Score Composer
Robert Vreeland Musical Direction/Supervision
Jack L. Warner Executive Producer
Perc Westmore Makeup
Carl Jules Weyl Art Director
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