IMDb > The Quare Fellow (1962)

The Quare Fellow (1962) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 5 | slideshow) Videos
The Quare Fellow -- In 1962, legendary Irish playwright Brendan Behan's incendiary insider's look at life on death row, THE QUARE FELLOW, was adapted for the screen. A zealous rookie prison guard, Thomas Crimmin (Patrick McGoohan), arrives at a crumbling correctional facility where inmates and turnkeys alike anxiously await a man's imminent trip to the gallows. Though the condemned (called the "quare fellow" in Hibernian jailhouse slang) remains unseen, the cruelty of the brutal murder that has marked his days and the system that would take a life for a life are both keenly felt. Under the tutelage of a retiring guard, and via a chance liaison with Kathleen (Sylvia Syms), a woman with a deep connection to both the man awaiting execution and the crime of passion he committed, Crimmin's duty-bound veneer erodes and the tragedy of state-sanctioned murder threatens to claim more than just the life of the guilty.


User Rating:
6.9/10   218 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Brendan Behan (play)
Arthur Dreifuss (adaptation)
View company contact information for The Quare Fellow on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 June 1963 (Italy) See more »
Thomas Crimmins is a new warder, or guard, in an Irish prison. He is young, naive, and idealistic, determined... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(2 articles)
Q&A: Kathy Burke
 (From The Guardian - TV News. 15 April 2011, 4:08 PM, PDT)

Q&A: Kathy Burke
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 15 April 2011, 4:08 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Condemned men, strange? See more (10 total) »


  (in credits order)

Patrick McGoohan ... Thomas Crimmin

Sylvia Syms ... Kathleen
Walter Macken ... Regan
Dermot Kelly ... Donnelly
Jack Cunningham ... Chief Warder
Hilton Edwards ... Holy Healy
Philip O'Flynn ... Prison Governor
Leo McCabe ... Doctor Flyn
Norman Rodway ... Lavery
Marie Kean ... Mrs. O'Hara
Pauline Delaney ... Mickser's wife (as Pauline Delany)
Geoffrey Golden ... 1st Customs Officer (as Geoff Golden)
Tom Irwin ... 2nd Customs Officer
Joseph O'Donnell ... Poet
Agnes Bernelle ... Meg
Iris Lawler ... Minna
Dominic Roche ... Chaplain
Brian Hewitt-Jones ... Jenkinson
Arthur O'Sullivan ... Hangman ('Himself')

Aubrey Morris ... Silvertop
Eamonn Brennan ... Flaherty
Robert Bernal ... Mickser
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gerry Alexander ... Kelly
James Brennan ... Old Patriot
Harry Brogan ... Dunlavin
James Caffrey ... O'Connor (as Jimmy Caffrey)
Brendan Cauldwell ... Shamrock Attendant
Marie Conmee ... Publican Woman
John Cowley ... Cleary
Eddie Golden ... Reception Warder
Eric Gorman ... Neighbour
Aiden Grennell ... Food Orderly
Marcella Grimes ... Charwoman
Michael C. Hennessy ... 2nd Publican

David Kelly ... Reception Clerk
Pat Layde ... 1st Publican

T.P. McKenna ... Walsh
Frank O'Donovan ... Clancy
Desmond O'Neill ... O'Shaughnessy
Derry Power ... Stretcher-Bearer
Charlie Roberts ... Dock Worker
Celia Salkeld ... Lavery's Assistant
Ronnie Walsh ... Irate Citizen
John Welsh ... Carroll

Directed by
Arthur Dreifuss 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Brendan Behan  play
Arthur Dreifuss  adaptation
Arthur Dreifuss  screenplay
Jacqueline Sundstrom  adaptation

Produced by
Anthony Havelock-Allan .... producer
Original Music by
Alexander Faris 
Cinematography by
Peter Hennessy 
Film Editing by
Gitta Zadek 
Art Direction by
Ted Marshall 
Costume Design by
Joyce Stoneman 
Makeup Department
Peter Armston .... makeup artist
Ivy Emmerton .... hairdresser
Production Management
Ronnie Bear .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Roy Baird .... assistant director
Art Department
Josie MacAvin .... assistant art director
Sound Department
Ernie Cousins .... sound mixer
Stephen Dalby .... sound director
Alastair McIntyre .... dubbing editor (as Alistair McIntyre)
Camera and Electrical Department
Peter Allwork .... camera operator
Gerry Anstiss .... assistant camera
Vincent Corcoran .... location photographer
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Joyce Stoneman .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
Ernie Grimsdale .... assistant editor
Music Department
Alexander Faris .... conductor
Kathleen O'Connor .... vocal arranger
Other crew
Hal Collins .... story editor
Desmond Mackey .... location assistant
Kay Rawlings .... continuity

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Condemned Man" - International (English title) (literal title)
See more »
85 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
UK:X (original rating) | UK:15 (video rating)

Did You Know?

First film of Aubrey Morris.See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
Condemned men, strange?, 7 April 2015
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom

The Quare Fellow is directed by Arthur Dreifuss who along with Jacqueline Sundstrom co-adapts the screenplay from the Brendan Behan play. It stars Patrick McGoohan, Sylvia Syms, Walter Macken and Dermot Kelly. Music is by Alexander Faris and cinematography by Peter Hennessy.

Thomas Crimmin (McGoohan) begins new employment at a Dublin jail firmly believing in the benefits of the death penalty. Not everyone of his colleagues feels the same, though, and as Crimmin works through his time and gets close to the wife of a condemned man, his beliefs are splintered.

The play by all accounts was awash with humour, something which this filmic version considerably lacks. Dreifuss prefers to make the film bleak, both in surroundings and via the characterisations. The prison is perpetually cold and grey, smiles are hard to find within these walls, cynicism and fatalism drip from the wrought iron doors, and of course moral compasses are all over the place. This doesn't make it a bad film, not a bit of it, it's a tough drama acted superbly, with some brains and brawn injected into the script. Yet it ultimately plays its hand as a straight forward anti-capital punishment peace, missing opportunities to expand upon hinted at themes, particularly where Syms' fraught wife character is concerned. Still, it's a must for McGoohan and Syms fans and for those who like gritty pics set in prisons. 6.5/10

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (10 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Quare Fellow (1962)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Final Shot - What did note on door mean? divgrad
McGoohan's Monster's Ball? Moor-Larkin
Quare Alix1929
See more »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The Letter Intermission Captives Anatomy of a Murder Dead Man Walking
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Drama section IMDb UK section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.