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The Children's Hour
1 review

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Movie Details

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Directed By
William Wyler

Written By:
John Michael Hayes

Cast:
Shirley MacLaine, Audrey Hepburn, James Garner, Miriam Hopkins, Veronica Cartwright, Fay Bainter

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The Children's Hour (1962)
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Movie Review by Jessica Film Junkie
September 9th, 2007

Maclaine's Great Role

SPOILER ALERT:

This film is based on Lillian Hellman's Broadway play about rumours of lesbianism between two teachers at an all-girl's school.

Though this film, and the play, were decades ahead of their time, it still ends in the way most lesbian pulp fiction of the era had to end: with death. Homosexuality was always forced to be seen as a curse or malady that would be cured by death.

Shirley Maclaine is outstanding as Martha, the teacher who has an 'unnatural' obsession with her best friend, Karen (Audrey Hepburn). Karen intends her marry her long-time boyfriend, which causes severe jealousy from Martha. One troublemaking student (Karen Balkin) accuses the teacher when she becomes frustrated by no one giving her enough attention. However though Karen is adamant that the idea is entirely false, Martha feels as though her subconscious thoughts are finally being revealed.

This may not be a revolutionary film, but it is refreshing to see a 1960's film that does not centre around women in bikinis or women frozen in scenes like a perpetual Ziegfield Follies. These women are smart and capable, they run their own school and they stay loyal to one another no matter what the accusations or realizations about them may be.

Refreshing, if not revolutionary.

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Tim
Sep 10, 2007 8:50 AM
 
If you insist on revealling every major plot point, you should at least begin your review with a warning that it contains spoilers. For anyone who hasn't seen the film, you've ruined their experience!
Jessica Film Junkie
Sep 10, 2007 4:47 PM
 
Sorry, I just assumed that since it is a well known play from seventy years ago and a movie from over forty years ago people would have an idea of what it is about.

This is one of the more famous queer-topic films of all time and there are many theories about why queer relationships always had to end tragically. I even studied it in university. I suppose that is where I was coming from.



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