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Children's Hour [Blu-ray] [1961] [US Import]


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Children's Hour [Blu-ray] [1961] [US Import] + Unforgiven [Blu-ray] [1960] [US Import]
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Product details

  • Actors: James Garner
  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Format: Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Kl Studio Classics
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Aug 2014
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00KOW4B9U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,020 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 13 Nov 2006
Format: DVD
This is a superb film where two teachers suspected of having a lesbian relationship loose everything, made in 1961 when censorship prevented any overt reference to the subject matter.

But that is what makes the wonderfully subtle screenplay realised in the superbly understated performances by Hepburn and MacLaine so effective, the censor restraints somehow make the plot more involving, it leaves so much to the imagination of the viewer.

Another unusual aspect of the film is the casting of children in the role of villains, 12 year old Karen Balkin gives a fine child performance as the malicious Mary Tilford whose lies are responsible for all the teachers' problems.

But as in real life nothing is exactly what it seems, and the subtle plot reveals deeper layers of suppressed emotion as it unfolds.

William Wyler filmed this controversial 1934 Hellman play twice, once in 1936 as "These Three" with Miriam Hopkins (the Aunt in this version) as Martha and Merle Oberon as Karen. In 1936 the lesbian aspects had to be replaced with a heterosexual triangle.

The 1961 version is a truly fascinating film gaining strength from the constraints of its time.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Miguel M. Santos VINE VOICE on 17 July 2004
Format: DVD
William Wyler had made film version of this story in 1936, but then he had to give in to the censors in some things. In 1961, enjoying a bit more freedom he decided to keep closer to Lilian Hellman's original. Although there is an outdated prespective on homosexuality in it, there was something about this film that made me really like it and it's still a powerful testemony of how mean gossip can ruin someone's life. Two friends (Audrey Hepburn and Shirley McLaine) have a girls' school and everything seems finally to be fine, when one of the girls accuses them of being lesbians. And every parent soon starts taking their children out of the school. The two actresses are great, and so are Miriam Hopkins and Fay Bainter.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By RD VINE VOICE on 20 Jan 2008
Format: DVD
A brilliant but lesser known/talked about Hepburn movie that I decided to watch after lots of deliberation. I'm glad I did get it as I was surprised to find she was joined by James Garner as well as Shirley Mclaine. The three of them come together to make 'The Children's Hour' an interesting movie that unveils the far reaching effects of gossip, especially the malicious type.

Hepburn (Karen) and Mclaine (Martha) play two life-long friends who have started up an all girls boarding school which is just starting to find its feet. Unfortunately, one of their problem children comes up with a plan to get out of the school for good. She tells her grandmother that the two teachers have an 'unnatural' relationship and she has seen and heard things in the night. All of this is complete rubbish of course but because of half-truths, plain lies and words taken out of context the news of their affair soon travels through to all the other parents and soon the school is empty.
Karen and Martha's life falls apart compltely as they can't even leave the house without being harassed which soon takes a toll on all those involved. The ending is very sad and made me cry but also serves to highlight the point of the movie and is well chosen and filmed.

Quite different from Audrey Hepburn's most famous romantic comedy type stuff but well worth watching.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L on 11 Nov 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For anyone interested: English, French, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish and Greek subtitles are included (ordered my copy in Nov 2012).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By GratuitousViolets TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Aug 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My Thoughts: "The Children's Hour" is a thought-proking film that gives you an insight into how the simplest of lies and rumours can escalate into ruining the professional reputations, relationships and essentially the lives of the undeserving and the well-intentioned. Here we have Shirley MacLaine in one of her most intense and prolific roles as a young woman who is unwillingly suffocated by her sexual identity and her best friend portrayed by Audrey Hepburn, as an innocent party who is eventually caught in the crossfire.

This film, a remake of a 1930's heavily censored adaption from a Broadway play, still manages to toe the line of the Hays production code yet jumps into realms of scandal and suggestion far more than the original was allowed. The dialogue is beautifully written and the mood of the film drags you into this spellbinding world of lies, rumours and bigotism in an age when homosexuality was still illegal.

Both Shirley Maclaine and Audrey Hepburn's performances were deep and intense, the electricity of their scenes is tangible and breathtaking. Audrey Hepburn's quiet grace and poise is perfectly set in contrast with Shirley MacLaine's fiery unreciprocated passion. It's no surprise that MacLaine was nominated for a Golden Globe for her work in this film (she should have won it!). This should be on every "100 movies to see before you die" list. If anything, it'll make you think twice the next time you tell someone about a rumour you've heard.

The Plot: Karen Wright and Martha Dobie have been close friends since the age of seventeen and now are working colleagues at a modest all-girls boarding school they are also independently running with the help of Martha's Aunt Lily.
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