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DETAILS

MPAA Rating - NR

Length:
    108 Minutes

Genre:
    Drama

Original Release Date:
    Dec 3, 2002

Director
    William Wyler

Cast
    Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, James Garner, Miriam Hopkins, Fay Bainter

 
Movie Summary
Based on the 1934 play by Lillian Hellman, The Childrens Hour is set at an exclusive girls school managed by best friends Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine. When student Karen Balkin is punished for one of her many misdeeds, the mean-spirited youngster rushes to her wealthy aunt Fay Bainter, and, randomly choosing a phrase she has undoubtedly read in some magazine, accuses Hepburn and MacLaine of having an unnatural relationship. As Balkins lies grow in viciousness, the students parents withdraw their children from the school. Hepburn and MacLaine sue Bainter for libel, only to lose their case when MacLaines aunt Miriam Hopkins refuses to testify as a character witness. The trial takes its toll on the relationship between Hepburn and her boyfriend James Garner. When Bainter discovers that her niece has been lying, she tries to make amends, but it is too late. MacLaine has already tearfully confessed to Hepburn that she is indeed in love with her--whereupon MacLaine commits suicide. Director William Wyler had also helmed the first film version of Childrens Hour, 1936s These Three, which due to censorship restrictions of the time did without the lesbian angle (the little girls accusations involved a supposed romantic triangle between the two ladies and a male friend). Miriam Hopkins, who plays a supporting role in The Childrens Hour, originally essayed the Shirley MacLaine role in These Three. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide


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