Today, I'm reviewing the 1979 TV version of The Corn Is Green starring Katharine Hepburn.
This article is part of The Great Katharine Hepburn Blogathon hosted by margaretperry.org.
Director George Cukor and actress Katharine Hepburn are one of old Hollywood's legendary partnerships. They made several classic films together, including Little Women (1933), The Philadelphia Story (1940), and Adam's Rib (1949). Their final film together was the gentle drama, The Corn Is Green (1979), which feaures Hepburn as a no-nonsense 19th century schoolteacher in rural Wales.
The Corn Is Green tells the story of Lilly Moffat (Hepburn), a middle-aged woman who inherits a large home in a rural Welsh coal-mining village. Miss Moffat isn't the type to settle down for a quiet retirement, so she recruits a couple of local friends (Artro Morris, Anna Massey) and starts a school for the children of the miners. Through a stroke of luck, Miss Moffat spots the untapped potential in a teenage miner, Morgan Evans (Ian Saynor), and begins to train him for a scholarship to Oxford University.
|Katharine Hepburn in the beautiful Welsh countryside while filming The Corn Is Green (1979).|
By 1979, old Hollywood stars like Davis and Hepburn were, for the most part, no longer big box office at movie theaters, but TV viewers still welcomed them into their homes on the small screen. Cukor, Hepburn, and Laurence Olivier made a 1975 TV movie, Love Among the Ruins, that was an unqualified smash. It won a Peabody Award and seven Emmys, including best director for Cukor and best actress for Hepburn.
|Katharine Hepburn and George Cukor in North Wales while filming The Corn Is Green (1979).|
However, the best moments in The Corn Is Green are between Morgan and Miss Moffat. The two have an intriguing relationship: In many ways, Miss Moffat lives through Morgan because, as a man, he has greater opportunities (women could not attend Oxford at the time) and while Morgan greatly benefits from Miss Moffat's time and attention, he also chafes somewhat under her strict guidance, especially when his buddies make fun of him for being a teacher's pet. In the end, Miss Moffat sacrifices a great deal for Morgan, which Cukor illustrates in the film's poignant final scene. I don't want to give away too much, but Morgan, who has achieved more than he thought possible, has become a hero in his village, while Miss Moffat cheers him on from the shadows.
The Corn Is Green is available on DVD.