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Brian J. Smith,
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Marcial Di Fonzo Bo,
Brendan Behan, a sixteen year-old republican, is going on a bombing mission from Ireland to Liverpool during the second world war. His mission is thwarted when he is apprehended, charged and imprisoned in Borstal, a reform institution for young offenders in East Anglia, England. At Borstal, Brendan is forced to live face-to-face with those he perceived as "the enemy," a confrontation that reveals a deep inner conflict in the young Brendan and forces a self-examination that is both traumatic and revealing. Events take an unexpected turn and Brendan is thrown into a complete spin. In the emotional vortex, he finally faces up to the truth. Written by
Strand Releasing <www.strandreleasing.com>
The Broadway production of "Borstal Boy" based on a book by Brendan Behan and adapted for the stage by Frank McMahon opened at the Lyceum Theater in New York on March 31, 1970, ran for 143 performances and won the 1970 Tony Award for Best play. See more »
When Brendan arrives in Liverpool (which is actually London in the movie) he is passed by a London Transport Routemaster bus, a type which did not appear until 1958, though the movie is set in 1942. See more »
I got worried when the film opened with "inspired by" Borstal Boy rather than based on. This is the sort of movie that makes me wish I had a bunch of money so I could run out and start filming "Borstal Boy 2004" and actually film the story and characters that were in the book. The characters were awful and betrayed the rich characterization of the book.
Part of the problem was that the filmmaker looked back to 1942 with a 21st century perspective. For example he wanted to make Brendan sympathetic so Brendan befriended an out homosexual (in 1942) and a jew. Dale, the evil character hated both and was a self-proclaimed rapist. Darth Vader had more dimensions than Dale. I don't know if an IRA soldier from 1942 would look at Hitler, the enemy of his enemy, as being a worthy reason to suspend his fight for independence. Worst of all, Brendan acts like a 14 year old from the American suburbs with his revulsion of homosexuality. The tired message in the movie is that if you are against homosexuality then you, yourself, must be gay. For example, initially revulsed, Brendan ends up falling in love with Charlie. Dale mocks Charlies and later tries to rape Charlie. In the original story, despite being published in the 1950s, Brendan had no such trouble with homosexuals. When he found out Oscar Wilde was gay, he responded non-chalantly that everyone has their own way of doing things. he came across Charlie having sex with another boy and it was no big deal. The play of the same name (1971) did manage to hold true to the original story. This movie should have done the same.
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