Rory O’More

Director: Sidney Olcott

Rory O’More was made on the company’s second visit to Ireland and is the first of several historical dramas set around the Irish rebellions of 1798/1803. The company was based in Beaufort, outside Killarney, for this and subsequent summers, and the wall of Beaufort House (which boundaries the O’Sullivan-run bar where they stayed) is the backdrop for the film’s climactic scene. Olcott’s dramatic use of the celebrated landscape of Killarney becomes a recurring and emblematic feature of his subsequent Irish films. Here, the Torc Waterfall provides the backdrop for the opening sequence and the lakes are used during Rory’s escape from British soldiers. Clearly benefiting from a larger drew and longer planning than their first trip (some fifteen cast and crew travelled this time), the scenario was by Gene Gauntier adapted from Samuel Lover’s romantic ballad and later novel about a United Irishman of the 1798 rebellion. Gauntier plays Kathleen, while Rory is played by Jack J. Clark (who Gauntier would later marry). Robert Vignola, a life-long friend of Olcott, plays the despised informer ‘Black William’. The film is directed with verve and dynamism by Olcott with impressive photography by George Hollister. The final scene is missing from the version presented here. According to the in-house magazine Kalem Kalendar, it ends… ‘making his way to the sea, Rory finds a boat in which Kathleen waits for him, ready to take them to America and freedom’.

Notes by Tony Tracy.

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