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
The Broadway production of "The Children's Hour" by Lillian Hellman opened at the Maxine Elliott's Theatre on November 20, 1934 and ran for 691 performances. See more »
Starting at 55:24, Amelia's hand is fully on the piano when looking at her, but on the edge of the piano when seen from behind. This changes three times. See more »
Mrs. Lily Mortar:
Any day that he's in the house is a bad day. You can't stand them being together and you're taking out on me. You've always had a jealous, possessive nature even as a child. If you had a friend, you'd be upset if she liked anybody else. And that's what's happening now. And it's unnatural. It's just as unnatural as it can be.
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A child's lie destroys lives, a parable for the present
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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