Irish Film Institute -THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS


Director: JOHN FORD

72 minutes, U.S.A., 1936, Black and White, 16mm

Contrary to myth, Ford had not asked Sean O’Casey to script The Informer; that request had come years earlier from the British company BIP, who made an early-sound version of the story at Elstree studios at the same time that Hitchcock was collaborating with him there on Juno and the Paycock. But the Ford-O’Casey collaboration on The Plough and the Stars seemed promising, until it was derailed by a combination of RKO studio politics – watering down Ford’s use of the Abbey Theatre cast by imposing Preston Foster and Barbara Stanwyck as leads – and by ideological conflict: Ford’s view of the Easter Rising was a simpler, more romantic one than O’Casey’s.

Despite its failure at the time, the film has a lot going for it: not only the vivid performances by Abbey players like Barrie Fitzgerald and his brother Arthur Shields, himself a participant in the Rising, but also some fine action sequences. A rare chance to see a film in need of reevaluation.

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.

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