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JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK

Director: ALFRED HITCHCOCK

U.K. • 1930 • BLACK AND WHITE • 35MM • 85 MIN


Hitchcock filmed Sean O’Casey’s play entirely at Elstree Studios, but he had visited Dublin to ensure authentic sets, and many of his cast are Abbey regulars, notably Sara Allgood as a magnificent Juno. Neither O’Casey nor Irish critics were happy with the all-too-English Edward Chapman as Captain Boyle (relegating Barry Fitzgerald, who created the role on stage, to an opening cameo), or with the replacement of the play’s tailor, ‘Needles’ Nugent, by a crude Jewish caricature. Outside Dublin, the theme of unmarried pregnancy caused offence; in Limerick, after denunciation from the pulpit, the film was seized from the projection box and burned in the street. Constrained by the early limitations of sound recording technology, the film is creaky and largely static, but this makes it all the more fascinating as a (fairly) close approximation to the theatrical experience of the 1920s.

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