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The Proud Valley [DVD]

Paul Robeson , Edward Chapman , Pen Tennyson    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: 14.42 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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The Proud Valley [DVD] + How Green Was My Valley [DVD] [1941]
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Product details

  • Actors: Paul Robeson, Edward Chapman, Simon Lack, Rachel Thomas, Dilys Thomas
  • Directors: Pen Tennyson
  • Producers: Michael Balcon
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Jan 2010
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002BC9YKC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,914 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Pen Tennyson directs this early Ealing Studios drama set in a Welsh coal mining valley. Paul Robeson stars as David Goliath, a charismatic African-American seaman who washes up in a small mining village in Wales. There, he finds work alongside the miners down the pit, and his magnificent singing voice attracts the attention of local choir director Dick Parry (Simon Lack), who has ambitions of winning the national choir contest on the strength of Goliath's talent. However, a mining disaster puts both of these occupations on hold, and Goliath rouses a group of activists to march to London in the hope of reopening the mine in time to serve the nation's wartime needs.

Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sentimental but spectacular 24 Jun 2011
"Proud Valley" was Paul Robeson's favourite of his films, where he felt - finally - his character was portrayed in a sympathetic light, as a rounded human being, not a caricature.

The film, as you might expect for a piece of popular entertainment from so long ago, is a little over-sentimental and "stagey" at times, but for me this adds to its charm. What is unarguably gripping and timeless is Robeson's spine-tingling singing and mighty presence, and the extraordinary scenes underground. This is no sanitised view of mining. If it wasn't shot in situ, then the sets should have won an oscar. You can almost smell the damp coal and the air think with sweat, dust - and gas. The authenticity of the relationship Robeson had with South Wales miners also shines though, and makes for many genuinely moving moments.

A important piece of social history, a warm portrait of Robeson, a gritty tribute to miners, and an emotional testament to human solidarity and courage. Unforgettable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The film that Robeson was proud to be in... 19 Dec 2012
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I was inspired to watch this film after reading Arnold H. Lubasch's biography of Paul Robeson, An American Ballad. Lubasch tells the story of Robeson encountering a group of Welsh miners in London. On hearing that they had marched all the way from Wales to petition the government for help, Robeson joined them in their march, performed an impromptu concert for them and raised money for them and their families. He later performed concerts in South Wales and developed a strong attachment to the mining community there. This strong bond meant that The Proud Valley, filmed on location in the mining villages of South Wales and in some ways mirroring this real-life story, was the film that he felt most proud to have acted in.

Made in 1939, it is a patriotic film with an emphasis on everyone doing his/her bit for the war effort, a bit overly sentimental in places but with some good acting (despite the occasionally dodgy Welsh accents) and naturally with some very fine singing from Robeson, both solo and as part of a choir. The Radio Times Film Guide gives it only 2 stars and dismisses Robeson's performance, but I feel this is rather unfair. The story might be a bit hackneyed and the miners unnaturally good, but Robeson's acting is fine and his singing is sublime as always. I found it an enjoyable watch and the end, though somewhat predictable, still moved me. A film of its time and, as such, recommended.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Treasure from the Archives 27 Feb 2010
The Proud Valley seems to improve with repeated viewings. The location shots in a Welsh valley and the dramatic underground scenes at the pit make it well worth a look. The leading Welsh actors, notably Dilys Davies and Rachel Thomas, give impressive performances but some of the English actors do not impress with their attempts at Welsh accents, neither does a lot of the unidiomatic 'stage Welsh' dialogue. Above all,however, Paul Robeson gives a very likeable performance and his voice is glorious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saw this years ago. 17 July 2013
By Brian
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw this film years ago and was pleased to find it was available on DVD. Paul Robeson sings and acts the part perfectly. It portrays the mining industry as it was in the early part of the twentieth century. Very moving in parts I thoroughly enjoy watching it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic 23 Nov 2013
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Love all the old films and this one is especially good because of my family history with regard to coal mining. Paul Robeson visited the valley in which I lived and it's a bit of nostalgia for me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars past memories 26 Oct 2013
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past memories
powerful old film
stereotyping the welsh typical of the era as in hollywood's how green was my valley. who ever said Lamentations as one character says several times in the film. Good to see paul robeson in a film role. Great man.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Proud Valley 24 Aug 2013
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A very old Black and White film much loved by my Generation who grew up in the South Wales mining valleys. Paul Robeson and his Son,struck a chord with the incredibly poor and underpriveleged valley folk and shared a lot of their values. This film is the nearest we can now get to the spirit of those dark days. You have to shut your mind to the numerous English actors and their cod accents, but the story is good and the underground sequences some of the best of their kind. The quality of the sound track is not good and the choral sequences suffer as a result. This will appeal to people over 70 years old in particular, but my 18 year old grand-daughter loved it as well and found the last few minutes very exciting and moving.. Do not expect modern ideas in film making, this is an artistic production first and foremost.. Look out for Jack Jones in a small part and read his book "Off to Philadelphia in the morning" to get a better idea of what life was really like in this part of the world then, and you will view the film in a different light and have a glimpse into a far different time, wonderful tough and resilient men and women and another world where poverty and hunger was a fact of life to an extent totally unknown today.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Black and White nostalgia 10 Aug 2013
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They don't make them like this anymore. Black and white nostalgia of course. A must for all coal miners to view. Bought for husband, and is one of his favourites now.
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