The Children's Hour

In its original incarnation, The Children’s Hour was a critically acclaimed play by Lillian Hellman which opened on Broadway in 1934. Set in an all-girl’s boarding school, the drama depicts the struggle of two teachers to preserve their dignity after being accused by students of having a lesbian affair. Highly controversial at the time, the play was later adapted for the screen by William Wyler on not just one, but two occasions. In the first instance, the intervention of the Hays Office (Hollywood’s censorship bureau at the time) left the director less than satisfied with the finished product. The bureau not only forced a change of title to These Three, but also barred any reference to the stage play in the screen credits or any advertising of the film. Commenting wryly that, ‘Miss Hellman’s play has not yet been filmed,’ Wyler got the chance to try his hand for a second time 25 years later. This time around, the director strove to remain as faithful as possible to the original text and brought together the star actresses, Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine.

As a piece that explores the fallout from an unwarranted accusation and social prejudice, The Children’s Hour has earned a place in the canon of timeless modern classics. Just recently, for instance, the play was resurrected in a new UK production starring Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss.

Ahmet Gürata


William Wyler

John Michael Hayes

Franz Planer

Robert Swink

William Wyler

Audrey Hepburn
Fay Bainter
James Garner
Karen Balkin
Miriam Hopkins
Shirley MacLaine

Profil: John Huston

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