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The Informer (1935)
Riveting character study set in troubled time.
I just saw this film on Turner Classic Movies last night and was blown away by Victor McLaglen's performance:In every sense of the word a "tour de force". The atmosphere of 1922 Dublin evoked through the cinematography and production design really foreshadowed techniques used in the best film noirs of the 40's and early 50's.Very nice attention to detail also;during Frankie McPhillip's (Wallace Ford's) wake, the mourners are all praying in Gaelic. Max Steiner's score is unforgettable. As in later films such as 1939's GWTW, he appropriated folk ballads to lend local color and a sense of place and time. John Ford: already a film giant in 1935!
One of the reviewers of this film said that it was perhaps the most boring ever made. I might agree with him if not for the fact that each scene is set up so perfectly, exactingly austere yet very rich. The palette the director chooses for his canvass are soft browns, blacks, muted whites. Certain scenes delight with their unexpectedness- the three fish that are given to Therese by her invalid father, the gift of the wooden Christchild at Christmas, and the flagellation scene.
You might say "Therese" is a religious film, but then one could also make the argument that this film displays an asceticm both neurotic and self-absorbed. It is certainly not the standard by which we judge "spirituality" these days; however for centuries this is the way a good part of Christendom sought the divine.
This film is certainly anything but boring. It is unusual, enlightening and a small delight to the senses in much the manner of an Emily Dickinson poem.