An accomplished Irish-themed British musical from 1934
This is a very lively and quite powerful story involving comedy, love, rivalry, class, smuggling, horse-fancying and murder all done with considerable charm - set in rural Ireland in the late 19th? Century. Throughout are very nicely performed traditional Irish songs. It rightly describes itself as "a musical Romance".
What sets this film apart are the perfect choral arrangements, the wonderful band/orchestra playing (including a rapid "duet" between two trumpets playing alternate notes) and the individual singers. It is such a pleasure to listen to. Stanley Holloway - later to star in "My Fair Lady", is well suited to his semi-comic role as a baritone Father O'Flynn. The the other two leads (forgotten today) John Garrick and Gina Malo are very pleasant singers. Gina Malo appears at least to have been the model for Maureen O'Hara a decade later. Indeed if this had been in colour with a few Hollywood names it would have been a hit.
For 1934 it is an accomplished British musical, much of it filmed outdoors. Getting music to sound good both indoors and outdoors, transitioning between the two, all the while synchronised with singing and dancing, was quite an accomplishment just 5 years after the start of the talkies. 80 years later it is not always done as well. It also perfectly changes mood from rural and mellow (a singing shepherd and his devoted dog), to sweetly romantic, to bitter and murderous to boisterous hunt supper songs. I'm not sure I've seen - and heard - better.
Seen on Talking Pictures TV, Freeview channel 81
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