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Film Details

TitleO'NEILL, THE
IRISH REBEL, THE
Production companyKalem Co
Country of originUSA
ProducerOLCOTT, Sidney
DirectorOLCOTT, Sidney
PhotographyHOLLISTER, George
CastJack J Clark (O'Neill), Gene Gauntier (Elinor), Sidney Olcott (old
peasant man), Alice Hollister (old peasant woman), J P McGowan.
Colourb&w
Soundsil
Footage990
Release date1912
Summary'The O'Neill', an Irish patriot, covertly returns to his old familiar haunts, from which he had been obliged to flee during times of oppression, and finds a proclamation, nailed in a conspicuous place, which offers a reward for his capture. Warned, he takes to the country lanes, and there meets his old friends, the peasants. One in particular, a frail old man, welcomes O'Neill to his humble cottage and shares his meagre food with him. Touched by the abject poverty of his countrymen, O'Neill becomes determined to aid them at the price of becoming a highwayman. Going to a secluded spot on the highway, he masks himself and lies in waiting. Soon a carriage appears and with a command to halt, O'Neill politely requests the occupants to alight. The passengers are an elderly gentleman and his daughter, Elinor, from whom O'Neill, with the utmost courtesy, takes a finger ring. In a spirit of mockery, O'Neill forces Elinor to dance a few steps with him. Shortly afterwards, a masked ball is held, which Elinor attends. O'Neill, still remembering her pretty face, and unable to overcome his longing to see her again, goes to the ball, carefully masked. He meets Elinor there and engages her in conversation, but she sees her ring on his finger and cries for help. As the guests rush in, O'Neill jumps through the window and escapes. The following day the outlaw meets Elinor by chance on the highway. She promises to meet him again that night. She appears at the appointed hour, but she has brought a group of men who surround O'Neill and take him prisoner. When they bind and imprison him in the house, the men retire to an adjoining room to drink to their success. Elinor finds herself in love with O'Neill and repents her subterfuge. She sneaks through the window and frees him. They leave on horseback, stopping only at the old peasant's cottage, where O'Neill bids farewell to his friend. When the escape is discovered, the men start in pursuit and reach a cross-roads, where they inquire there of the old peasant if he has seen the couple. The old man points in the opposite direction from that taken by the pair, who are able to reach the coast, where a hasty ceremony is performed and a ship awaits to carry them to France. (Adapted from Kalem Kalender 22/12/1911:9).
NoteUSA Rel 12/1/1912; GB Rel 25/2/1912. Evidently re-issued USA 16/5/1916 as THE IRISH REBEL. Filmed in Ireland. Unpublished cast member J P McGowan has been identified in a publicity still for this film by Herbert Reynolds. Gifford 1991:16 attributes this film to an adaptation of a play Erin's Isle by Dion Boucicault, but no such play has been identified in Boucicault's repertoire. See Fawkes 1979:260-66.
ReferenceBio 22/2/1912:x; Kalem Kalender 22/12/1911:12-13.
Format35mm
LanguageEnglish
Production creditsp.c: Kalem Co, p/d: Sidney Olcott, c: George Hollister.
Genre/CategoryShort Film Drama
Historical Drama
KeywordsIrish History
Irish Rebels

Contact: irishfilm@tcd.ie | Last updated: Aug 13 2019.