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Film Details

TitleARRAH-NA-POGUE
Production companyKalem Co
Country of originUSA
ProducerOLCOTT, Sidney
DirectorOLCOTT, Sidney
Script/AdaptationGAUNTIER, Gene
PhotographyHOLLISTER, George
Music composerSIMON, Walter C.
CastGene Gauntier (title role), Sidney Olcott, Agnes Mapes, Jack J Clarke,
Arthur Donaldson, J P McGowan, Robert G Vignola, Anna dark. Harry
O'Brien, Thomas P Glancy, George H Hardin, Charles Lully.
Colourb&w
Soundsil
Footage3000
Release date1911
SummaryReel 1. Beamish McCool joined the Irish insurrection and had become a leader in the movement when he was arrested and placed in Wicklow jail. His property was confiscated by the authorities. When his followers learned of his imprisonment, they perfected a plot for his escape, which involved a rope, a fast horse and a boat to carry him from the country. Arrah Meelish, the prisoner's foster sister, volunteered to carry the idea of their plot to him. She approached the armed sentinels and begged permission to kiss her brother farewell, as the next day would bring about his execution. While kissing him a note was slipped from her mouth to his without being detected by the wardens. Later the guards were seized and Beamish made his escape from the prison, hurried to his sweetheart. Fanny Powers, bid her farewell and left for France. Four years Beamish spent in reckless exile, and, unable to endure it longer, returned to Ireland. He , learned that Fanny was still true to him, having refused Colonel O'Grady, the magistrate, and her legal guardian. Beamish, on his arrival, quickly ,: gathers together his old friends. He robs Michael Feeney, collector of the Government Clerk's Office of his gold and banknotes and of his free pass across the mountain, because they had confiscated his property. Arrah, who has promised her hand to Shaun, a postman, secretes her foster brother in her barn and informs him of her imminent marriage. Beamish gives her as a wedding present a number of banknotes, which he had robbed from the collector. Feeney, who is also a suitor for Arrah's hand, tells her that he suspects Shaun is the man who had robbed him. She is surprised and tells him she has plenty of money, at the same time showing him the banknotes which her foster brother gave her. These are recognised by the collector, who says nothing. The following day Shaun and Arrah are wed in the old barn in which Beamish is secluded. Major Coffin, a British officer, brings Colonel O'Grady information that a rebel had made a bold robbery and was at present secreted in Arrah's barn. They set out at once for her house, in company with Feeney, the informer. Fanny and soldiers. The gaiety is stopped and the searching party begins its work. Beamish makes his escape through a window, and, grasping a branch of a tree nearby, lowers himself to the ground and hurries away. Arrah is accused of harboring the rebel as Feeney had found McCool's coat, which contains the mountain pass. Her husband takes the blame for Beamish's robbery, and says the coat is his. He is arrested and taken to prison. Reel 2. Beamish goes to the place where he is supposed to meet his sweetheart. He is greatly distressed at not finding her there. As he sits in solitude, a messenger arrives with a letter from Fanny, saying that she had been at Arrah's cottage and knew all. He replies, saying he has left for Dublin to visit the Secretary of State and secure, if possible, a pardon for Shaun. Fanny returns home and announces to Colonel O'Grady that she is now prepared to become his wife, but before their marriage he must obtain a pardon for the release of Shaun, who is ignorant of the whole affair. The colonel consents to do his best. Arrah is now seen at the prison, hopefully awaiting a word from her husband. Feeney enters Shaun's cell, accompanied by Fanny. Feeney starts to heap insults upon Arrah, and although Shaun's hands are tied, he pounces upon him, causing him to cry out for help. The guards order Feeney from the place. Fanny tells Shaun that she is going to denounce her affianced husband in order to save the postman from unjust punishment. Arrah, at this time, comes to the door and falls into her husband's arms and confesses that it was Beamish she had concealed in the barn. Everybody is ordered out of the room as the guards conduct Shaun into the courtroom to await trial. The verdict handed down is to the effect that Shaun must die the following day. Reel 3. Beamish McCool arrives at the Secretary of State in Dublin and proclaims his identity with a written confession of the affair. Colonel O'Grady arrives a few minutes later and the secretary hides McCool behind the curtains, while O'Grady makes a plea for Shaun's release. The third person to put in an appearance is Fanny Powers and the secretary conceals the colonel in another place about the room. During her interview, the two men, each unconscious of the presence of the other, finding it impossible to restrain themselves longer, slip from their hiding places and confront the woman. The old secretary reunites Beamish and his sweetheart, writes a pardon for Shaun, which he hands to the colonel, and the three depart on their missions. Meanwhile Shaun's hour approaches. Arrah climbs to the battlements of the castle in the hope of seeing her husband for the last time. Shaun discovers a loose stone in his cell and with almost superhuman strength, breaks the barred window, thereby effecting his escape. Feeney meets Arrah upon the battlement and tries to induce her to forget Shaun and become his wife. She refuses. He is infuriated. In the meantime Shaun is stealthily climbing up the ivy on the outside of the jail, and when he reaches the top he enters into a fierce struggle with Feeney, who is finally overpowered and thrown into the waters below. At this moment the colonel, Beamish and Feeney arrive with Shaun's pardon. Beamish asks Shaun to pardon him for all the trouble he has caused him, which is joyfully granted, and the story ends showing Shaun placing his arms about his wife's neck. (MPW 2/12/1911:748).
NoteUSA Rel 4/12/1911; IR Rel 10/2/1913 (Dublin). Filmed in Ireland. The title is Irish for 'Arrah of the Kiss'. The play was banned throughout the British Empire following a Fenian bombing in London in 1867. A larger Kalem crew and cast than in 1910 [see THE LAD FROM OLD IRELAND (USA 1910)] returned to Ireland in June 1911 and stayed until September, based mainly at Beaufort, near Killamey, Co Kerry where most of the films were made. See Rockett et al, 1987. 'The finest of the Kalem Irish series.' (Bio 21/12/1911:829). SEAN THE POST is an unverified title attributed to Kalem by Annie O'Sullivan at whose family's guesthouse/hotel the Kalem personnel stayed while at Beaufort during 1910-12, as quoted by Liam O'Leary, 1976. Proinsias O'Conluain places Sidney Olcott in the title role. There is romantic opera, Shaun the Post, which is a musical adaptation of the play, Arrah-na-Pogue, by Dion Boucicault, with libretto and lyrics by R J Hughes, music by 'Dermot MacMun-ough' [Harold R White], (publ. words only, Dublin: Piggot & Co, 1924). Given these connections, SEAN THE POST may well have been a working title for ARRAH-NA-POGUE.
ReferenceBio 14/12/1911:799; MPSTDec 1911:39-53; Talbot Tatler vi, nl2:212.
Format35mm
LanguageEnglish
Production creditsp.c: Kalem Co, p/d: Sidney Olcott, sc: Gene Gauntier from the play Arrah-
na-Pogue; or. The Wicklow Wedding by Dion Boucicault (1st perf,
7/11/1864, Dublin; revised, 1st perf, 22/3/1865, Dublin), c: George
Hollister, piano score/four-piece orch: Walter C Simon.
Genre/CategoryShort Film Drama
Historical Drama
Theatrical Adaptation
KeywordsFenians
Irish Rebels
Irish History
Prisoners

Contact: irishfilm@tcd.ie | Last updated: Nov 27 2006.