Lady Gregory, who wrote the play The Rising of the Moon, is vividly brought to life by Edith Evans in this version of the early life of Sean O’Casey; Michael Redgrave as Yeats is equally strong.
The film would be worth seeing for these two alone – for the recreation of Gregory’s Coole Park, and of Yeats’ fierce address to the Abbey Theatre audience after the riots at the opening of The Plough and the Stars. Ford himself did not direct these scenes; aged 70 and drinking heavily, he had pulled out after three weeks of shooting in Dublin, and Jack Cardiff took over; but it is still billed as a John Ford Production, and remains in many ways recognisably his film, since he had planned it and worked on script and casting. And he did get to direct some powerful scenes with Julie Christie as Daisy Battles, Cassidy’s early love, as well as a trademark bar-room brawl.
We are pleased to welcome Dr. Barry Monahan who will introduce this screening.
Showing as part of the IFI's Season of John Ford's Irish Films.