During the Irish revolution, a family earns a big inheritance. They start leading a rich life forgetting what the most important values of are. At the end, they discover they will not receive that inheritance; the family is destroyed and penniless. They must sell their home and start living like vagabonds. Written by
Claudio Sandrini <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Juno and the Paycock is very much like Sean O'Casey's other filmed work, The Plough and the Stars. Both plays are centered on typical Irish families in Dublin trying to survive in times of strife. Plough and the Stars takes place during the Easter Rebellion and Juno and the Paycock takes place during the Civil War after the British leave everything but Ulster.
The Boyle family who are the protagonists are not the noblest clan ever put on film, but I think a lot of us would recognize ourselves more than we care to admit. Sara Allgood is mother Boyle, nicknamed Juno who bears all kinds of tribulations for the 90 minutes of the film. She has one useless husband who'd spend all his time in the pub if he could, a son who's an amputee lost in the fighting, and a daughter who gets taken in my an English solicitor who brings news of an inheritance and then takes advantage of the daughter.
Sean O'Casey got good and slammed after these two plays were produced, showing a side of Irish life that wasn't pleasant. Today they are masterpieces.
Juno and the Paycock could probably use a more modern production now. This was one of Alfred Hitchcock's earliest sound features, but it really is a photographed stage play for the most part. When John Ford did The Plough and the Stars he very cleverly cut in a lot of newsreel footage from the Easter Rebellion giving a real feeling for the times.
What Ford did and what Hitchcock didn't do was inject typical John Ford touches in the film so it is more Ford and O'Casey. Hitchcock was hardly as well known in 1930 as opposed to the reputation he later developed. The Hitchcock touches that we all later came to know are hardly present here. In fact this really isn't a Hitchcock kind of film at all. But he did it as a contractual obligation.
Because it wasn't his kind of film, Hitchcock dismissed it. But the film is definitely true to what O'Casey was trying to convey.
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