The life of Irish politician Charles Stewart Parnell, following from 1880 onward his struggle to free his country from English rule, pursued in prison, Parliament, and elsewhere. Emphasis ... See full summary »
The life of Irish politician Charles Stewart Parnell, following from 1880 onward his struggle to free his country from English rule, pursued in prison, Parliament, and elsewhere. Emphasis is on the relationship with married Katie O'Shea which threatens to bring all Parnell's plans to ruin. Moderately accurate historically. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
After the movie flopped at the box-office, Clark Gable told MGM not to bother casting him in any more "period" pieces, preferring to play only in contemporary movies. This was part of the reason Gable was reluctant to accept the role of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind (1939). See more »
If one were to see the movie Captain Boycott and see Robert Donat in a brief cameo as Charles Stewart Parnell making a speech you would be seeing a far closer portrayal to the real Parnell then Clark Gable gave in this film. Myrna Loy wasn't too much better as Kitty O'Shea, both the leads looked like they had something else on their minds.
The real Charles Stewart Parnell was a great Irish patriot who by force of intellect and oratory rose to the head of the Irish party in the House of Commons. During the 1880s the members for Ireland in Parliament under Parnell's leadership held the balance of power between the Conservatives and Liberals. If the whole business with his affair with Mrs. O'Shea had not come to light, Ireland might very well have gotten it's own parliament and essentially home rule which was Parnell's goal. He accomplished this all the while clinging to his Protestant faith. The fact that Parnell was a Protestant was not mentioned at all in this film.
Also, the key to Parnell's downfall was his haughtiness. He was not an easy guy to like. He was a great Irish patriot, but he was also haughty and arrogant. When he was brought down by a back street affair come to light, even a lot of his allies weren't unhappy at his political demise.
Before the affair came to light, his enemies tried another gambit with some forged letters that purported to show Parnell's complicity in the assassinations of Lord Fredrick Cavendish and his secretary in Phoenix Park in Dublin in 1881. The trial scenes were the best in the film and it might have been a good film had they stuck to that of course with someone else playing Parnell. The best performance in the film is that of George Zucco who was Parnell's attorney, Sir Charles Russell. Running a close second in acting is Alan Marshal who plays Myrna Loy's husband, Captain O'Shea who thinks by pimping his wife to Parnell he can advance his own career.
Gable took ribbing for this film the rest of his life and even he admitted it laid an ostrich egg.
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