Irish Film Institute -THE INFORMER


Director: JOHN FORD

91 minutes, U.S.A., 1935, Black and White, 35mm

The Informer won Oscars for best direction, script (Dudley Nichols), music (Max Steiner) and acting (Victor McLaglen); it used to be celebrated as Ford’s finest work for its status as a Hollywood art film, creating an all-studio Dublin at RKO studios through expressionistic visuals, symbolic touches, and a downbeat story centred on the figure of a man who informs on a fellow-Republican and then goes inexorably to pieces. Few critics or audiences would now rate it so highly, but it deserves respect as a brave work of experimentation.

It was a box-office draw at the time, though not in Ireland: the censors found its image of the nation unacceptable, despite the fact that Ford and Nichols had shifted the period back from the Civil War of O’Flaherty’s novel to the less controversial territory of the War of Independence. One of those films that, like Brief Encounter in Britain, just has to be seen because of its special historical and cultural status.

We are delighted to welcome Dr. Charles Barr, who will introduce this screening.

35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Presented in partnership with Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) as part of John Ford Ireland: Film Symposium.

Showing as part of the IFI’s Season of John Ford’s Irish Films.


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