Having spent five years away in London, Geraint Llewellyn (Clifford Evans) returns to the quaint corner of Wales where he grew up to fulfil a vacant position as local choirmaster. However after choosing the ‘wrong’ piece of music to perform, he inadvertently causes fierce rivalries to develop between families in the village. Whilst boasting the voices of angels they, unfortunately, don’t have the patience to match.
For the first time Valley of Song is available on DVD. It might not be a very well remembered movie today but there is plenty to enjoy from this pastoral slice of British cinema. The shooting style – even the central storyline – may be rather average, even creaky, but performances from several key actors makes Gilbert Gunn’s picture better than it possibly should be.
The main focus may centre on rivalries between village choirs, however, a subplot featuring Cliff Lloyd (John Fraser) and Olwen Davies (Maureen Swanson) trying to become lovers, regardless of their families being at loggerheads, is the standout element of the picture. Both actors give touching performances. Perhaps the entire film should have revolved around them? The Romeo & Juliet-esque subplot plays out well and is easily the best thing here.
Valley of Song is a charming little movie, on the whole, with much of the humour deriving from stereotypical depictions of the small community. Gunn’s forgotten comic drama (it was released back in 1953) is perfect for Sunday afternoon, post-lunch viewing. 007 and Carry On fans may also enjoy cameos from Desmond Llewellyn and Kenneth Williams.
Mark has awarded Valley of Song three Torches of Truth