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The movie had a difficult time getting shown in England. When the movie was first submitted to the British film review board, it was rejected because it appeared that Queen Elizabeth II was acting in the movie. Producer Samuel Z. Arkoff managed to get the board's approval by adding a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie stating that the Royal Family had not participated in the making of the movie and that Queen Elizabeth's appearance was done using newsreel footage. Then English distributor EMI, which was the distributor of Arkoff's movies in England, stated to the press that that they were "a defender of the palace" and refused to handle the movie. The Rank Organization, the other major film distributor in England, also joined the boycott for the same reason. Ultimately, the movie only played in a few theaters in England. See more »
This motion picture incorporates extracts from a news film of The Queen at a State Opening of Parliament which, when photographed, was not intended for use in a fictional context. The Directors of Hennessy Film Productions, Ltd. would therefore like to make it clear that the Royal Family took no part in the making of this film. See more »
Oh dear a Hollywood thriller featuring the Provisional IRA that was made at the height of the troubles . Let me guess whose side the film might be taking ? "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" you state with self righteous smugness . Well there's women and children being raped to death by Jihadists' in the Caliphate as I write this . Anyone consider them to be freedom fighters ? The only thing terrorists offer people is the freedom from freedom . But you can guarantee that Hollywood will delude themselves that if someone has an Irish accent , a Kalashnikov and a pile of semtex there's no way he can be classed as a "terrorist" , so imagine my surprise that I came across a very even handed portrayal of Irish terrorism
The plot is simple and features an Irishman Niall Hennessey whose wife and daughter are killed in a riot in Belfast and wants to take his revenge by blowing up the Queen's state opening of parliament . This is seen as a step too far by the Provisionals so set out to eliminate Hennessey
The idea of the IRA going after a rogue player however is not as far fetched as it seems . Sure it's all down to self preservation . As real life events would later prove the IRA's failed assassination plot of the Prime Minster and her cabinet in 1984 with the Brighton bombing destroyed any intermittent dialogue between the British government and the IRA for several years . Wipe out the Royal family and British government is just asking for trouble because the retaliation and fall out would totally alienate the Provos from any political carrots being offered so yes the motives and credibility as seen here ring absolutely true
HENNESSEY is a rather familiar thriller of one man finding himself alone and on the run from both sides but this isn't necessarily a criticism . When the film does make vaguely political statements then it does tie itself up a little bit . For example a news report states sectarian differences are put aside for the youths killed in the riot , but I can tell you a small minority of people living in Republican or Loyalist ghettos will never come together to remember the dead of the other side . Quite the reverse , it'd be a cause of celebration and much drinking . Sad but true
Rod Steiger is one of these actors whose talent far exceeds most of the films he's been in and HENNESSY is sort of mid table . It's not a role that screams Oscar nomination but at the same time he does give a rather understated performance and it's not often you see a film where the lead IRA man isn't played by some hunky man . Sean Bean , Richard Gere and Brad Pitt have all played IRA men so it's a nice change that the producers didn't think of getting Paul Newman or Robert Redford in the title role so let's be grateful for that
Oh and no review of this movie can be complete without saying "Some very good editing and the archive footage of the Queen blends so seamlessly in to the film you'd think she's actually been filmed onset as herself"
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