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Dublin, 1920. Gypo Nolan, strong but none too bright, has been ousted from the rebel organization and is starving. When he finds that his equally destitute sweetheart Katie has been reduced to prostitution, he succumbs to temptation and betrays his former comrade Frankie to the British authorities for a 20 pound reward. In the course of one gloomy, foggy night, guilt and retribution inexorably close in... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
A lot of movies of John Ford (Sean O'Feeney) deal with Ireland.At every stage of a long and brilliant career,he gets back to his roots in his homeland:"the informer" and "the plough and the stars" are early period;"the quiet man " is middle, "young Cassidy" is late.
Far from being "one of the worst movies of the thirties" ,"the informer " belongs to its time:that's true that the studios deny realism but that was true for Fritz Lang's "M" and Marcel Carné's "réalisme poétique" too.Anyway,at a pinch,no matter if it's a political subject in the Ireland of the twenties:what Ford has to say to us is universal:when a man betrays his best friend,be it for thirty coins of silver or for twenty quids,he will be eaten with remorse ,everything that he'll see and hear will remember him of the awful thing he's done.Gypo won't take advantage of his pitiful reward,he will loose everything except the victim's mother's compassion and forgiveness. All through this dark movie,Gypo will roam the foggy streets ,a desperate man:you should not forget that he is an outcast from the beginning:dismissed by the IRA,because he hadn't guts enough to kill a prisoner,and outside a girl,and Jackie (the man he will betray),he's on his own ,a man who suffers from hunger and,worse, lack of self-esteem -the one time when he finds solace is when he has a rest near his girl's fireplace-This character is not that much far from Peter Lorre's part in "M":both movies feature a secret trial.
As always in Ford's cinema,women are figures of peace love and understanding,and for them a man can always redeem his soul: here Katie and the mother.In "quiet man" ,Wayne is given a second chance thanks to Ireland and... Maureen O'Hara.And after all Ford's last movie will be "seven women" (1966) :a doctor(Ann Bancroft) will triumph over barbary against all odds.
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