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 »
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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>
[Parnell tries to convince Mrs. O'Shea of his love]
Charles Stewart Parnell:
Have you never felt there might be someone, somewhere who, if you could meet them, was the person that you'd been always meant to meet? Have you never felt that?
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Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms
Played as background music for the entire first meeting of Parnell and Katie O'Shea
Reprised often for their subsequent meetings See more »
This 1937 MGM film was, I take it, a major bomb at the time of its initial release. Certainly, this blend of historical drama, tearjerker romance, and fuzzy politics could not have been considered commercial even back then. That probably explains the casting of two of MGM's biggest stars, Clark Gable and Myrna Loy, in roles that they were ill-suited to (to say the least)--an effort to offset the uncommercial nature of the project with star power. Could there have been a more archetypical (is that a word?) American actor than Gable? Here, he doesn't even attempt an Irish accent; he is uncharacteristically ill-at-ease and the scenes toward the end of the film when his character is supposedly in failing health are laughable (Gable never looks less than robust). Loy fares only slightly better--she was a chic and witty actress, but here she goes the teary, noble route with blah results. Only the great character actress Edna May Oliver, with her horsey face and tart manner, manages to make anything of her scenes. MGM would have done better casting, say, Spencer Tracy and Maureen O'Sullivan (both of whom, I think, were under contract to the studio)--at least they would have been more believable in the parts, though the basic problems of the film (lacklustre direction and a screenplay that tells us very little about the titular character and his politics) would have remained.
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