Captain Donald King of the British Army goes to India just as World War I breaks out, convincing his comrades that he is a coward. In reality, he is on a secret mission to rescue British ... See full summary »
Ellen McHugh, a poor Irish immigrant to America, finds work in a carnival and is thus able to send her son Brian to a fine school. But when her position is found out, the school expels ... See full summary »
Philippe De Lacy,
Joe Smith, a young bakery worker, gets engaged to Mary Coronelli, who comes from a wealthy family. Her snooty aunt takes Mary to Europe, hoping to break up the couple, but Joe uses his ... See full summary »
J. Farrell MacDonald,
'Citizen' Hogan is a Irish Republican patriot with a price on his head, serving in Algiers, where he is highly respected by his Foreign Legionaire comrades. After receiving a telegram, he asks permission to go back to Ireland to settle a matter involving family honor by killing D'Arcy, a fortune-hunting opportunist who has turned British informer. Back in Ireland Lord Justice O'Brien, who has the unenviable reputation of being a hanging judge and is haunted with self-doubt, is terminally ill and close to death. He tries to ensure his daughter Connaught's future welfare by coercing her to renounce her love for the upstanding but poor Dermot McDermot and marry the despicably unscrupulous but affluent D'Arcy, the man Hogan has returned to murder.Written by
I rented this at Netflix to see John Wayne in his earliest credited role, and there he is and in more than one scene, too, at the races. They had to kind of bury him with a family and friends and put him in the back of a wagon, until it was time to tear down the fence, in order to tone down this extra's height, good looks, and enthusiasm! Otherwise, he would have taken over the whole scene. No wonder Ford was interested in him.
In addition to Wayne, though, I was surprised to see how good this movie is overall, even today. It has some of the 1920s melodramatic touches and rather silly (from today's perspective) plot devices, but that is more than outweighed by John Ford's film shots of the Irish countryside and its people.
I swear Ford took some of the "Irish" shots out of this and set them into "The Quiet Man," in color and with sound; for example, the buggies with the men and women in the side seats are just shown in passing in "Hangman's House," but of course Ford makes them a prominent plot device in "The Quiet Man." There is actually more loving detail of upper class Irish life in "House," including some spectacular sets of houses and the waterways, than in "Quiet Man." Listen to the music in the race scene in "House": it's a version of the same tune that Michaleen starts in the last sequences of "The Quiet Man," when Wayne goes down to the train station to fetch O'Hara home. I always wondered why Ford featured that so prominently.
Ford also used some very imaginative camera setups, including having some of the horses in the race come straight at the camera and then jump over it, as well watching the old hanging judge suffering torments of conscience...with the camera filming him from the back of the fireplace, through the flames! Victor McLaglen dominates the film, too. It's quite a revelation for someone who has just seen him in "The Quiet Man,"and seeing his performance in "House" enhances the whole fight scene at the end of "The Quiet Man."
All in all, this excellent movie complements "The Quiet Man" quite well.
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