Movies visit the Family Entertainment Center for more entertainment resources
Browse by Title
Browse by Release Date

These Three

Rating:No Rating
Genre:Drama
Release Date:January 1, 1936
Running time:93 minutes
Director:William Wyler

Description: Lillian Hellman's 1934 Broadway play The Children's Hour was such a hot potato that film producer Samuel Goldwyn was denied Production Code permission to use the play's original title. The reason was the story's lesbian theme, a factor that also blocked The Children's Hour from winning a Pulitzer Prize. In the original story, lifelong friends Martha Dobie and Karen Wright manage an exclusive girl's boarding school. Spoiled rotten student Mary Tilford, angered at being disciplined, fabricates a story that casts a questionable light on the women's friendship. In attempting to defend themselves against the accusations of the little girl's wealthy and powerful aunt, Martha and Karen lose everything in court. By the time the girl has admitted her lie and the aunt has come to apologize, it is too late. After confessing that she has harbored unnatural feelings towards Martha, Karen commits suicide. In adapting her play to the screen, Lillian Hellman expertly weeded out all hints of lesbianism, and also eliminated Karen's self-inflicted death (suicide as a plot solution was another Production Code no-no). In the revised version, Mary Tilford (played with unbridled venom by Bonita Granville) spreads a rumor that Martha (Miriam Hopkins) has been carrying on an illicit affair with doctor Joseph Cardin (Joel McCrea), the boyfriend of Karen (Merle Oberon). The end result is essentially the same -- the school is destroyed, along with Martha and Karen's reputation -- but Karen manages to survive to fade-out time. In defending the evisceration of her play, Hellman defended herself by noting that her original point was not to force a lesbian subtext down the throats of the audience, but to show how a vicious lie -- any vicious lie -- can have disastrous consequences. While it makes a good story, it is probably not true that, when informed that the leading characters in The Children's Hour were lesbians, producer Goldwyn replied, Who cares? We'll make them Americans. These Three was refilmed in 1961 by its director William Wyler, under its original title The Children's Hour, with Hellman's original text -- lesbianism and all -- intact; ironically, the censor-ridden earlier film is the far superior version.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Movie summaries and listings powered by Cinema-Source

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Pin the Star on the Christmas Tree Game
Looking for a great Christmas game to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Star on the Christmas Tree game for loads of family fun!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top Family Movies in Theaters for the Holidays
Taking the kids to the movies is a special family treat for the holidays! Don't miss 2014's best family films in theaters from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!