The Corn Is Green

  • 1945
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

The year is 1895 and schoolmistress Davis has come to a small mining town in Wales, Glensarno, to live in a home she has recently been willed. She is shocked to find many of the miners illiterate and living in abject poverty. She opens a school with her own money and teaches basic skills to any of the poor villagers who wish to avail themselves of it. Her...read more

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The year is 1895 and schoolmistress Davis has come to a small mining town in Wales, Glensarno, to live in a home she has recently been willed. She is shocked to find many of the miners illiterate and living in abject poverty. She opens a school with her own money and teaches basic skills

to any of the poor villagers who wish to avail themselves of it. Her housekeeper, an ex-shoplifter (Ivan) who has now become born again, and Ivan's trollop daughter (Lorring) both think the whole idea is dreadful and will never catch on. Davis encourages Dunnock and Williams to join her as

assistant teachers. Bruce is a rich landowner who is against the school. He fears that if the children get an education, they'll see what life can be, and they'll leave the mines. Davis finds a building in the heart of town that would be perfect, but Bruce will not lease it to her, so she converts

her home into the school and opens for business. Dall is an aggressive, rude, and angry young man who soon demonstrates that he also has a touch of brilliance. Davis had been ready to toss it all in, but when she sees how Dall is responding, she spends the next two years working with him. The

scenes with the two of them, as student learns from teacher, highlight the middle of the film and the original Emlyn Williams play. Davis pushes Dall to enter Oxford and the pressure is too much for the young man. He walks out, gets drunk, and winds up seducing (or, more accurately, being seduced

by) Lorring. Soon enough, Dall resumes his studies, and then, a short time later, Lorring happily announces that she is carrying Dall's child. Davis doesn't want Dall to know, so she bribes Lorring to leave Glensarno. Many months later Dall is leaving to study at Oxford when Lorring arrives with

their baby. Dall is torn between his desire to get an education and his guilt about the child. He decides to stay in the village, marry Lorring, and give the child a decent life. Davis sees another solution and offers to adopt the baby to give Dall the chance to make something of himself. Lorring

doesn't love Dall and actually got pregnant in a fit of pique after an argument with Davis, so she agrees. Dall leaves, and the baby is safe in Davis's care. Ethel Barrymore was a big hit in the role on Broadway, but the studio wanted to lead with a sure box-office draw so they padded out the

svelte Davis to simulate the thickness of middle age. She was actually 37 when the film was made. The film team was respectful of the stage play, perhaps a bit too much so: it's obviously a back-lot set that serves as the village. But the acting is uniformly good, and the script is presented

intelligently. Dall and Lorring were both nominated by the Academy for their work in THE CORN IS GREEN. Neither ever realized much success after this film, other than Dall's devilish work in Hitchcock's ROPE. Producer Chertok later presented "My Favorite Martian" to America.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The year is 1895 and schoolmistress Davis has come to a small mining town in Wales, Glensarno, to live in a home she has recently been willed. She is shocked to find many of the miners illiterate and living in abject poverty. She opens a school with her ow… (more)

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