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After World War I Irish rebels launch an uprising with the aim of creating an Irish republic, independent of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. One of the rebellion's leaders and a beautiful aristocratic Englishwoman meet and - despite the enormous class, cultural, political and social differences between them - fall in love. Written by
If only the problems of Irish independence and how much of it would be granted could have been solved by Michael Collins falling in love with say David Lloyd George's daughter. It might have made for some interesting tales of romance.
Which is what we have here in Beloved Enemy. The Collins character is renamed Dennis Riordan and it seems that the sight of the beautiful Merle Oberon, daughter of British envoy Henry Stephenson is enough to almost make him forget about the cause of Irish independence. Riordan is played by Brian Aherne and he's a dashing sort of rebel. No wonder Merle decides he's for her.
Although Beloved Enemy is a nice romantic story, I feel it cheapens what Michael Collins was all about. He and Arthur Griffiths in signing the treaty with the British and getting Dominion status and six Protestant counties opting for inclusion in the United Kingdom, settled for 5/6 of a loaf so to speak. Collins paid with his life for thinking of the widows and orphans and a chance for Ireland to heal. He died and many more died in the Civil War that followed before Ireland just had a peace of sheer exhaustion.
There's a good character in the film played by Karen Morley who is the widow of an IRA man now trying to support her son Ronald Sinclair. The real Michael Collins was thinking about the thousands like her when he signed the treaty.
Jerome Cowan made his film debut in Beloved Enemy and David Niven has one of his earliest roles as Henry Stephenson's secretary. Beloved Enemy is historical romance, but hardly history. See both John Ford films, The Informer and The Plough and the Stars for a better idea about Ireland during the Rebellion.
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