A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
Johnny McQueen, leader of a clandestine Irish organization, has been hiding in the house of Kathleen and her mother, planning a hold-up that will provide his group with the funds needed to continue its activities. During the hold-up, things go sour: Johnny is wounded, cannot make it back to the hideout, and disappears in the back-alleys of Belfast. Immediately, a large-scale man-hunt is launched, and the city is tightly covered by the constabulary, whose chief is intent on capturing Johnny and the other members of the gang. Kathleen sets out in search of Johnny. Written by
Eduardo Casais <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Before James Mason got this lead role, it was offered to Stewart Granger who turned it down. See more »
When Johnny falls from the car into the road, the first long shot shows him in sunlight near the middle of the road and opposite a gutter. A later shot shows him still in sunlight near the middle of the road but he has now been moved back so he is opposite the intersecting road, so that when he rises he can run straight down that road. See more »
In my profession there is neither good nor bad. There is innocence and guilt. That's all.
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I felt compelled to respond to a point made by zetes below:
"He delivers a speech from the Bible late in the film, in what I would call the film's least successful scene, but its meaning in the film seemed obscure to me."
The passage, as John Simpson below has pointed out, is from Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians, on the supremacy of love. If I have not love, Paul says, I am nothing. In the King James version, however, the word was not love, but charity.
As I remember, McQueen stumbles through Belfast at the mercy of everyone who finds him. Some take advantage of him, others try to help him, but everyone has his own interests at heart. Those who try to help him always change their mind in the end, and send him back out into the street. When McQueen sees the image or ghost of his priest, he asks him, 'What was that you used to tell us? "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."'
Perhaps this is a bit too obvious, but it announces the theme of the film. It's precisely what everyone has lacked. One could object to the fact that McQueen is a terrorist, but Paul (and Jesus) would not acknowledge the question of who deserves and who doesn't deserve this love/charity. It's not selective.
Many years later, Neil Jordan must have had this scene in mind when he filmed "The Crying Game." In an early scene, on the night before they are to execute Jody (Forest Whitaker), Jody asks Fergus (Stephen Rea) to tell him something, anything, to comfort him. Fergus thinks for a bit, and then says, "When I was a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man I put away childish things..." When Jody asks him what that means, Fergus says, "Nothing." Once again, Jody asks him to tell him something, anything at all. Fergus stays silent, unable to think of anything, his eyes welling up with tears. The scene ends with this heartbreaking bit of dialogue:
JODY: Not a lot of use, are you, Fergus? FERGUS: Me? No, I'm not good for much...
They're both excellent films, with an intelligence and emotional honesty one doesn't often see.
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