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Film Details

Production companyCrusade Films
Country of originNorthern Ireland
ProducerPEDELTY, Donovan
DirectorPEDELTY, Donovan
Script/AdaptationPEDELTY, Donovan
EVANS, David (from a story by Dorothea
Donn Byme)
PhotographyBURGER, Jim
Sound recordingWRIGHT, D.A.
EditingNIETER, Hans
COX, John
Art directionHEMSLEY, W.
Associate producerGREENE, Victor. M
Music performanceHAYWARD, Richard
Songs'Sweet Enniskillen'
'Johnny, I Hardly Knew You'
'The Harp That Once'
CastRichard Hayward (Donagh O'Connor), Dinah Sheridan (Moira Flaherty), Gwen Gill (Mary Johnson), George Pembroke (Mike Finnegan), Liam Gaffney (Sean Deasy), Herbert Thorpe (Benny/Benito Colombo), Jimmy Mageean (Flaherty), Jack Clifford (O'Hara), Shaun Desmond (Maloney), J Miles Marwyn (McCartney), Wolf Curran (George), Charles Fagan (police sergeant).
Release date1936
SummaryDonagh 0'Connor, an irresponsible London-Irish businessman who makes meal concentrates, is late for an appointment with McCartney, an Irish-American business magnate, with whom he is negotiating the sale of his products. Though arriving late for the appointment, O'Connor's delay is effectively covered up by his secretary, Mary Johnson. O'Connor invites McCartney to a dinner at the Irish Hying Club, where O'Connor is the guest of honour. O'Connor sings a song about the Irish Free State ge of Ballyvoraine, his birthplace, and adds a romantic accnt. of the place. He declares that he'd give half his fortune to be there that night. He ends by saying that none of the London-Irish had 'the guts to go home'. McCartney is impressed by the song and the speech and tells him that he would be a hit on radio in America. A group of young Irish aviators at the dinner decide to take O'Connor up on his declaration about giving away half his fortune if he were to get to Ballyvoraine that night. They kidnap him and take him to an airfield, where they bundle him aboard an airplane. Meanwhile in Ballyvoraine. ex-Chicago gangsters, and now local poteen-makers, Irish-American Mike Finnegan and his Italian-American bodyguard, Benny, are told by Sean Deasy of a complaint from publican Maloney about the quality of their poteen. Finnegan threatens Maloney and demands that he take thirty gallons of poteen to mix with the whiskey, but Maloney declares that his customers will not drink his concoction. Maloney also shows Finnegan a newspaper which announces a government crackdown on poteen distilling. Before leaving, Finnegan hits Maloney, though Deasy tries to convince him to take the poteen. After he leaves, Sean meets his fiancee, Moira Flaherty, daughter of a small farmer, to whom he promises wealth, but she is worried that he will end up in jail. The aviators land in a field near Ballyvoraine and dump O'Connor from the airplane, leaving immediately afterwards. Moira observes the landing and approaches the bundle which is O'Connor and laughs at his predicament. She brings him to her home, where her father has a poteen still at the fireside. Mr Flaherty, drunk on poteen, thinks that O'Connor, dressed in formal evening clothes, is the devil. Reassured, Flaherty and Moira invite O'Connor to tea. O'Connor's appearance causes excitement and speculation amongst the gers, and Finnegan arrives at the house to investigate the stranger. He suspects him of being a government agent sent from Dublin to investigate his illegal activities. Deasy, who accompanies Finnegan, and Moira quarrel. At Maloney's pub where the customers sing and dance, Moira comes in and O'Connor sings for her. O'Connor is saved from an attack by Finnegan when Maloney and Moira intervene. She tells Finnegan she'll see him hanged if O'Connor is harmed. Moira tells Finnegan that she believes O'Connor has fled London and is on the run. Finnegan and Benny go to the Hahertys' and offer O'Connor a job as an entertainer at the pub, but he refuses. Deasy comes in and tells them that the police are coming their way. Meanwhile in London, Mary Johnson is trying to locate O'Connor, while McCartney wants to sign him to a seven-year radio contract on the basis that fifty million Americans will cry every time he sings about Ireland on the McCartney network. In Ballyvoraine, the poteen-makers try to clear the pub of poteen by pouring it down the sink. The police arrive at Maloney's pub and test the drink for traces of poteen. In his wanderings in the countryside, O'Connor discovers Finnegan's secret still in the cellar of a ruined coastguard station. He finds lodgings at the Flahertys', but a jealous Sean sees him with his arm around Moira. In London, Mary and McCartney find out from one of the aviators what happened to O'Connor, and all three head for Ireland. O'Connor reveals to Sean that he has seen the still. When told, Finnegan tells Benny to dispose of him. Benny arrives at Flahertys' to take O'Connor away. At the still, Finnegan tells him that he intends returning to Chicago, and leaves him in the cellar in Benny's care while he makes arrangements for O'Connor's 'disposal'. O'Connor and Benny sing and drink the poteen. After Benny passes out, O'Connor escapes from the cellar and goes to the harvest dance. Finnegan arrives at the cellar to find Benny awash in poteen and O'Connor gone. Finnegan and his gang go to the dance, but Sean arrives ahead of them and O'Connor gets Moira and Sean to make up their quarrel. Mary, McCartney and the aviator arrive in the ge. Finnegan turns up at the dance and orders his gang to take O'Connor out. Sean intervenes and O'Connor and Finnegan fight, with Finnegan being knocked out by O'Connor. A general fight ensues, which spreads to the bystanders. Arriving in the thick of it, McCartney and the aviator also become involved in the melee. After they have sorted themselves out, O'Connor refuses McCartney's radio contract and tells him that he won't go to America. Mary, however, stuns him with a bottle and once more he is bundled into the plane to be taken to Southampton for the Queen Mary voyage to the USA and to fulfil the radio contract. (V).
NoteUSA: 78 mins. IR Rel ca. 30/4/1936; USA Rel Nov 1938. IR re-issue May 1952 (Dublin). Produced at the Fox British Studios, Wembley, England. This was Dinah Sheridan's first film role. Members of the Belfast Repertory Company appear in the film. The exteriors were shot in County Antrim, while the interiors were shot at the Wembley Studios, London. "The real Irish wit and the genuineness of the characters and the scenery make up for the unprofessional touches of the production.' (FD 7/11/1938). Limerick Film Archive holds a 16mm print of this film. This film was screened at the 8th Annual Chicago Irish Film Festival (2007).
ReferenceBelfast Newsletter 16/12/1937; British Paramount News:2; MFB 1936-203-
812/5/1937:10. Giffbrd 10101: Nov 1936.
DistributorParamount-British (GB)
Production creditsp.c: Crusade Films, pres: Ambassador, p/d: Donovan Pedelty, assoc. p: Victor M Greene, a.d: Jack Gilling, sc: Pedelty from a story by Dorothea Donn Byrne, adapt: David Evans, c: Jim Burger, Geoffrey Faithfull, art d: W Hemsley, ed: Hans Nieter, m.d: Colin Wark, s: D A Wright, John Cox, p.m: Billy Phelps, songs sung by Richard Hayward: 'Sweet Enniskillen', 'Johnny, I Hardly Knew You', 'The Harp That Once'.
Genre/CategoryMusical Comedy
Feature Film Drama

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