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Home Is the Hero

Director: Fielder Cook

Ireland| 1959. Black and White. 82 mins.


Showing as a tribute to director Fielder Cook, who died recently, Home Is the Hero is one of a number of films made by Emmett Dalton Productions at Ardmore Studios in the 1950s. The film alternates studio shooting with familiar Dublin locations and employs a strong cast of Abbey actors, including Philip O’Flynn, Harry Brogan and Eileen Crowe. The script is by Henry Keating from the 1952 stage play by Walter Macken. It tells the story of Paddo O’Reilly (beautifully played by Macken himself), ‘the Goliath of Galway’, who is released from prison after a five-year conviction for killing the father of his son’s girlfriend. The embittered Paddo’s attempts to re-establish his role as head of the family brings him into conflict with his wife Daylia (Crowe), his daughter Josie (Joan O’Hara) and his assertive son Willie (played by American Arthur Kennedy). Cook’s direction is strong on mood, and the acting, particularly Macken’s Paddo, is a pleasure throughout. At the time of the film’s release, the Sunday Press reviewer said that ‘Paddo will surely rank as one of the greatest characterisations the screen has given us,’ and claimed that the production would ‘bring Ardmore Studios into the front rank of film factories’. Once believed to be a lost Irish film, a 35mm print of Home Is the Hero was donated to the Irish Film Archive by Vincent Dowling through the mediation of film collector Paul Balbirnie.

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