Archive for January 19th, 2009


by Allan Fish

next up in the near miss series

(UK 1947 115m) DVD1/2

Aka. Gang War

We’re going away together

p  Carol Reed  d  Carol Reed  w  F.L.Green, R.C.Sheriff  novel  F.L.Green  ph  Robert Krasker  ed  Fergus McDonnell  m  William Alwyn  art  Ralph Brinton, Roger Furse

James Mason (Johnny McQueen), Kathleen Ryan (Kathleen), Robert Newton (Lukey the painter), F.J.McCormick (Shell), Dan O’Herlihy (Nolan), Cyril Cusack (Pat), Robert Beatty (Dennis), Fay Compton (Rosie), William Hartnell (Fencie), Beryl Measor (Maudie), Maureen Delany (Theresa O’Brien), Joseph Tomelty (Carby), Elwyn Brook-Jones (Tober), W.G.Fay (Father Tom), Kitty Kirwan (Granny), Denis O’Dea (Head Constable), Maureen Cusack (Molly), Dora Bryan (girl in telephone box),

The Irish question has long been a thorny subject for the cinema, with the recent works of Neil Jordan coming down fairly unanimously on the side of those fighting for a united Ireland.  Certainly the few Hollywood films, such as The Informer, that dealt with the subject had similar bias, but for me there was only one great film about the Irish struggle; Carol Reed’s Odd Man Out.  And among various reasons, perhaps the most potent was that the said struggles were merely the backdrop for something much more intimate and universal.  In the Britain of the forties the IRA were not unfavourably depicted – as a recollection of Deborah Kerr’s Cromwell-hating colleen in I See a Dark Stranger will testify – but in the last few decades the film’s political stance has been less fêted.  The terrorist activities of that organisation (as they are referred to in the film) in recent times have made the film – and the subject – contentious viewing.  But perhaps this is unfair, because here is a film, and a British film no less, that comes close to not only depicting the real Belfast of the time – harsh and Dickensian, as David Thomson said – but also capturing the essence of the French poetic realist school of the late thirties, with Mason substituting for Gabin (even the dockside railings finale echoed Pépé le Moko).   (more…)

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