Biographical drama based on the early life of playwright Sean O'Casey, depicting his rise from the 1910 Dublin slums to the celebrated openings of his early plays. Johnny Cassidy, an ... See full summary »
Biographical drama based on the early life of playwright Sean O'Casey, depicting his rise from the 1910 Dublin slums to the celebrated openings of his early plays. Johnny Cassidy, an impoverished idealist whose ambitions are restricted by the demands of looking after his family, journeys through the social injustices of Dublin life - involving himself with the rowdy tramway-men strike, dawdling with prostitute Daisy Battles, seeking a better life. He falls in love with bookshop assistant Nora who encourages him toward a life of writing. Finding success at the Abbey Theatre, his unorthodox views estrange him from family, friends and his own past. Written by
In an interview Jack Cardiff said that only four minutes and five seconds of the footage shot by John Ford ended up in the finished film. The riot scene was cited by critics as the obvious work of Ford, yet it was completely done by Cardiff who admitted that he found inspiration from Battleship PotemkinSee more »
The story is set around 1910. One hour into the story a horse and carriage pass by. A 1960s-era car is seen turning at an intersection where it just came from. See more »
Billed as "A John Ford Film", although Jack Cardiff is credited as sole director. See more »
Sean O'Casey was born John Casey, so a film about his early life that calls him John Cassidy makes sense in a sort of way. The film is based on his autobiographies (there are 6 volumes I believe) which are apparently quite readable but not entirely trustworthy. As a committed socialist (even a communist) and protestant O'Casey was to find he had no place in the conservative, catholic Ireland of De Valera. This is the great central irony of the man's life (and of the history of Irish literature of the time), that one of the few great Irish writers to deal directly with the Troubles was eventually driven from the country
so much so that he spent the last 35 years of his life in England and
never once went back home. The film "Young Cassidy" is a pretty decent attempt to capture the man and his oddities. Rod Taylor looks nothing like the man but gives an energetic, likable performance. Other performances are OK and it is always nice to see Michael Redgrave, here as Yeats (he looks as little like the real man as Taylor does). Started by John Ford this looks like one of his Irish pictures but thankfully never descends into the blarney that films such as "The Quiet Man" did (Jack Cardiff who directed most of the film deserves more credit than he is usually given for his role). Filmed in Dublin it has a very authentic look. The main problem is in toning down O'Casey and his politics, he was far more radical than he was portrayed here and also far more of an irritant (to whatever country he lived in). In summary a decent biopic, overlooked but worth watching by Ford fans or those interested in Ireland.
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