Torch singer Joan Gordon, tiring of her relationship with small-time hood and racketeer Eddie Fields, flees to Montreal and becomes the mail-order bride of down-to-earth farmer Jim Gilson. ... See full summary »
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THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS, represents the director's anti-imperialist stance against the ruling British in Ireland. Although political in tone, both films have been filtered through the classical Hollywood consciousness; they refer as much to American conflicts (e.g. the Civil War) as Irish conflicts, with a protagonist struggling for freedom against the colonial power, as well as against pro-colonial forces within his own people. THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS stars Barbara Stanwyck; much of the action has been rewritten from a woman's film perspective, showing her struggling to survive in a world dominated by rebellion, in which her husband (Preston Foster) is committed to the cause of freedom
so much so, in fact, that he neglects her. But Ford is too clever to
make any judgment; although sympathizing with Stanwyck's character, he makes it clear that her husband has to fight on so as to preserve his own integrity, as well as that of his own country. THE INFORMER and THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS are both packed with Abbey Theatre actors, including Barry Fitzgerald, Arthur Shields (who were both Protestant, by the way, rather than Catholic as portrayed in the film) and more; they provide local color, as well as vivid illustration of how ordinary people coped with the experience of rebellion. Sometimes we wonder whether they have been cast to show off their Oirishness - in other words, conform to Hollywood stereotypes of the Irish character (garrulous, full of songs and fond of drinking). This is especially true of Fitzgerald's Fluther Good, who seems to have little involvement in the film's main plot, yet nonetheless has the chance to show off his (non-existent) pugilistic abilities. Nonetheless the film still packs a punch, despite its short running-time.
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