Green Years, The: Cronin’s Screen Version, Starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy

A. J. Cronin’s novel is adapted to the big screen in The Green Years, a lavish MGM production, known for casting real-life husband and wife Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy as father and daughter (though biologically Tandy is actually older than Cronyn).

The Green Years
Cronin Green Years poster.jpeg

Theatrical release poster

The tale centers on an Irish born orphan, played as a boy by Dean Stockwell and as a teenager by Tom Drake, who lives with his mother’s family in Scotland.

The cast also includes Charles Coburn, in an Oscar-nominated performance.

In 1900, Robert Shannon, a young orphan, is sent to live with his grandparents in Scotland. His great-grandfather becomes his mentor-father figure, helping him overcome the challenges of youth, and mollifying the cold stinginess of Robert’s grandfather.

Robert suffers life’s trials, and the kind, old great-grandfather, despite drink problems, always helps him rebound. In time, Robert grows into a teenager, and comes to love his childhood friend Alison.

After twists and turns, setbacks and near misses, fate inevitably intervenes, and he proceeds to attend medical college, attain a career, and marry his sweetheart.

The movie was hugely popular at the box-office.

Oscar Nominations: 2

Cinematography (b/w): George Folsey

Supporting Actor: Charles Coburn

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Supporting Actor Oscar was Harold Russell for The Best Years of Our Lives.

Arthur Miller won the Cinematography Oscar for Anna and the King of Siam

Charles Coburn as Alexander Gow
Tom Drake as Robert Shannon (as a young man)
Beverly Tyler as Alison Keith (as a young woman)
Hume Cronyn as Papa Leckie
Gladys Cooper as Grandma Leckie
Dean Stockwell as Robert Shannon (as a child)
Selena Royle as Mama Leckie
Jessica Tandy as Kate Leckie
Richard Haydn as Jason Reid
Andy Clyde as Saddler Boag
Norman Lloyd as Adam Leckie
Robert North as Murdoch Leckie
Wallace Ford as Jamie Nigg
Eilene Janssen as Alison Keith (as a child)
Hank Daniels as Gavin Blair (as a young man)
Richard Lyon as Gavin Blair (as a child)
Henry O’Neill as Canon Roche
Henry Stephenson as Blakely
Norma Varden as Mrs. Bosomley


Directed by Victor Saville
Produced by Leon Gordon
Screenplay by Robert Ardrey and Sonya Levien, based on A. J. Cronin’s The Green Years
Music by Herbert Stothart
Cinematography George Folsey, A.S.C.
Edited by Robert J. Kern

Production and distribution: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Release date: July 4, 1946

Running time: 127 minutes
Budget $2,280,000
Box office $6,654,000