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 »
I was most amused to see the credits start presenting a John Ford film and the credits ending with "directed by Jack Cardiff."
I believe John Ford was responsible for a few scenes in the film, including the scene where Rod Taylor (Sean O'Casey/Cassidy) enters the room where his mother (Dame Flora Robson) lies dead. This sequence is extraordinary--described and narrated by Taylor's monologue and actions. This does not stand up to the quality of the rest of the film, which is below average. Now Cardiff is a good cinematographer. He has to deal with a great cast assembled by Ford, who individually perform very well, and are captured well by Cardiff's visual eye but lack the vision of a great director to string the pearls together into a great necklace. The film's ending is amusing--a poor man turned rich man handing a crown to a vagrant who appreciates the worth of the money. What had the ending to do with what preceded it? If anything, the final scene is ambiguous and one begins to wonder whether the director was making a hero of Sean O'Casey or was he chastising him as are the film's oblique comments on Yeats living in sheltered house, policed by the British. The poor man turned into a rich and famous playwright is presented to us in fits and starts. The film did have a good intention but it lapses into mediocrity. Only two characters develop well--the mother (Robson) and Nora (Maggie Smith).
Julie Christie is mesmerising in any film but her character is never developed. Maggie Smith has charmed audiences over the years but this film is definitely one of her finest. Dames Robson and Evans are daunting thespians. Add to them Michael Redgrave. All great actors--including Aussie Rod Taylor. The film does not end with a bang but with a whimper.
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