Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1935. RKO Radio Pictures. Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, from the story by Liam O’Flaherty. Cinematography by Joseph H. August. Produced by John Ford. Music by Max Steiner. Production Design by Van Nest Polglase. Costume Design by Walter Plunkett. Film Editing by George Hively. Academy Awards 1935.
Victor McLaglen plays an ex-IRA soldier who was thrown out by his colleagues after he was unable to go through with an execution. Now down on his luck and in need of money to pay his and his girlfriend’s passage to America, he tells the English cops the whereabouts of another IRA man who killed some of their men in order to collect on the reward. Not being too good at hiding his new fortune, he undergoes a night of bad choices and close calls until the vengeful army comes after him in full force. John Ford won his first of four Academy Awards for this film, one that features moody, expressionistic photography and an excellent supporting cast. It hasn’t aged well, however, and audiences will be put off by McLaglen’s overly desperate performance and a storyline that is frustratingly familiar.