Emotionally majestic and spiritually moving, this is one of John Ford's undisputed masterpieces, a film that neither fades nor fails after repeated viewings. The mining area in South Wales and its hard-working miners and their families are seen through the eyes of Huw (Roddy McDowall), the youngest of six children in a family headed by a stern father (Donald...read more
The story is told through the eyes, and with the voice-over narration of Huw Morgan (Roddy McDowall), now a middle-aged man leaving the mining town of Cwm Rhondda, recalling the events that most impressed his younger self. The boy Huw is played by Roddy, but the voice-over is that of actor Irving Pichel, who is never seen in the film. His first memories are of the marriage of his brother, Ivor (Patric Knowles), and the burgeoning, unspoken, and ill-fated romance of his sister, Angharad (Maureen O'Hara) with the new preacher, Mr. Gruffydd (Walter Pidgeon). Because of the forbidden nature of the romance, Angharad marries another man, whom she later divorces, and Mr. Gruffydd leaves his church in disgust after being subjected to untrue town gossip - his romance with Angharad is never consummated, nor do they ever marry. Still too young to work in the local coal mine like his father, Gwilym (Donald Crisp), and his five older brothers, Huw senses the seriousness of an imminent strike by the rift it creates between his father and the other boys when three of them move out of the family abode. During the tensions of the strike, Huw saves his mother (Sara Allgood) from drowning and in so doing temporarily loses the use of his legs. As Gruffydd aids in Huw's recovery, insisting on a positive attitude, he suggests that it is only the first of many trials the boy will have to face. Other subplots are featured in the film. The film concludes with the death of the father in a mining accident.
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