7.8/10
12,543
126 user 47 critic

The Children's Hour (1961)

A troublemaking student at a girls' school accuses two teachers of being lesbians.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Lillian Hellman (play), John Michael Hayes (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Audrey Hepburn ... Karen Wright
Shirley MacLaine ... Martha Dobie
James Garner ... Dr. Joe Cardin
Miriam Hopkins ... Mrs. Lily Mortar
Fay Bainter ... Mrs. Amelia Tilford
Karen Balkin Karen Balkin ... Mary Tilford
Veronica Cartwright ... Rosalie Wells
Mimi Gibson ... Evelyn
Debbie Moldow Debbie Moldow
Diane Mountford Diane Mountford
William Mims William Mims ... Mr. Burton
Sally Brophy Sally Brophy ... Rosalie's Mother (as Sallie Brophy)
Hope Summers ... Agatha (Tilford's maid)
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Storyline

Karen Wright and Martha Dobie are best friends since college and they own the boarding school Wright and Dobie School for Girls with twenty students. They are working hard as headmistresses and teachers to grow the school and make it profitable. Karen is engaged with the local doctor Joe Cardin, who is the nephew of the powerful and influential Mrs. Amelia Tilford. While the spiteful and liar Mary, who is Amelia's granddaughter and a bad influence to the other girls, is punished by Karen after telling a lie, Martha has an argument with her snoopy aunt Lily Mortar in another room. Lily accuses Martha of being jealous and having an unnatural relationship with Karen. Mary's roommate Rosalie Wells overhears the shouting and tells Mary what Mrs. Mortar had said about her niece. The malicious Mary accuses Karen and Martha of being lesbians to her grandmother and Amelia spreads the gossip to the parents of the students that withdraw them from the school. Karen and Martha lose a lawsuit ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

is not for children See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 December 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La mentira infame See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Wyler cut several scenes hinting at Martha's homosexuality for fear of not receiving the seal of approval from the Motion Picture Production Code. At the time, any story about homosexuality was forbidden by the production code. See more »

Goofs

During the first scene you meet James Garner's character speaking to Shirley MacLaine, she finishes drying one older pot, then starts on a new pot. They cut away to a wide shot, and she is still drying the older pot, then, once again, starts on the new pot. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Amelia Tilford: I don't believe this talk of jealousy between Miss Dobie and Miss Wright.
Mary Tilford: But I didn't say she was jealous of Miss Wright. I said that Mrs. Mortar said that Miss Dobie was jealous of cousin Joe.
See more »

Connections

Version of Onschuldige meisjes (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

"No Place Like Home' (uncredited)
Lyrics by John Howard Payne
Music by H.R. Bishop (as Sir Henry Bishop)
Included in piano medley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A child's lie destroys lives, a parable for the present
7 March 1999 | by ebanditSee all my reviews

In this remarkable film, a child's malicious lie destroys the lives of two young teachers. The child lies to avoid school because "everyone there hates me." The lie is believed because it is compounded by idle ramblings. Then it is upheld by a girl who is lying only to protect herself. This piece plays remarkably well today as it shows that children do lie even when they don't really know what they are talking about. Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine are remarkable in this work as they show the emotional upheaval that a simple lie can cause.


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