The Children's Hour

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The Children's Hour is a 1961 movie about two mischievous underachievers who start a rumor to get their headmistress in trouble. It stars Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine and James Garner. It was based on the play of the same name written by Lillian Hellman, who also wrote this screen adaptation.

Amazon reviewer Scott Cloonan wrote:

  • As headmistresses of the exclusive Wright-Dobie School for Girls, Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine deliver stand-out performances, acting as teachers, disciplinarians, and den-mothers to a brood of twenty girls under their charge. After Mary (Karen Balkin) a deceitful, lying little bully who is black-mailing one of her classmates, is punished by Karen (Hepburn) and Martha (MacLaine), she takes revenge by twisting an overheard comment between the two women and turns it into a vicious falsehood against her teachers, intimating that the two are lovers. She relates this lie to her overly trusting grandmother (Academy Award nominee Fay Bainter) who soon spreads the gossip to the parents of the other girls and to the community at large. The resulting furor threatens the future of the school and ostracizes the two women as outcasts. Unfortunately, the lie also forces a guilt-ridden Martha to examine her feelings for her friend and confront her own repressed homosexuality, which leads to disastrous results.[1]


  1. Amazon review