Young Cassidy


1h 50m 1965
Young Cassidy

Brief Synopsis

True story of playwright Sean O'Casey's involvement with the Irish rebellion of 1910.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Biography
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
New York opening: 22 Mar 1965
Production Company
Sextant Films
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Mirror in My House by Sean O'Casey (New York, 1956).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)

Synopsis

In Dublin in 1911 during a period of growing protest against British rule, young John Cassidy is a laborer by day and a pamphleteer by night. Cassidy is a member of both the Irish Transport and General Workers Union and the Irish Citizens Army, which is trained for uprisings against the British. When the pamphlets he has written incite riots, Cassidy realizes that he can do more for his people with the pen than with the sword. In the course of a riot, Cassidy rescues Daisy Battles, a fiery music hall dancer, and they soon become lovers. Their affair is short-lived, however, and Cassidy becomes involved with Nora, a bookshop clerk who encourages his writing and falls in love with him. He brings a play he has written to the Abbey Theatre; and though it is rejected, another of his plays, The Shadow of a Gunman , is accepted and successfully produced, as are two subsequent plays. The opening of The Plough and The Stars , which deals with religion, sex, and patriotism in Ireland, causes the audience to riot, and he loses many friends; but he is undeterred and is soon acclaimed as Ireland's outstanding young playwright. Nora realizes that Cassidy no longer needs her, and he departs for England and international acclaim.

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Film Details

Genre
Drama
Biography
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
New York opening: 22 Mar 1965
Production Company
Sextant Films
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Mirror in My House by Sean O'Casey (New York, 1956).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 50m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)

Articles

Young Cassidy


Director John Ford and playwright Sean O'Casey were never able to strike up an ideal movie collaboration despite their best efforts. Ford filmed the screen adaptation of O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars (1936) with Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster and a number of players from Dublin's Abbey Theater, where the playwright got his start. After Ford completed the picture, he quickly moved on to another project. The producers of The Plough and the Stars decided to reshoot scenes, damaging the cohesiveness of O'Casey's story, Ford?s vision and Stanwyck's performance. The outcome was not a welcome one for anyone concerned, and O'Casey was reported to have described the film as "a sword without a blade, a banner without a staff, an arrow without a head."

By the time filming was set to begin on O'Casey's 1956 autobiography, however, he had apparently changed his opinion somewhat, giving his okay to the script of Young Cassidy (1965) shortly before he died. The film covers about a dozen years in O'Casey's (called "John Cassidy" in the film) young life, from 1911, when the Irish were staunchly protesting British rule, to his move to England in the 1920s after his play "The Plough and the Stars" caused riots and lost him many supporters. The rebellious and uncertain atmosphere of the times, with the Citizens Army confronting the British in the streets and intellectuals like O'Casey doing battle with their pens , is captured on location in Dublin by director Jack Cardiff, but the picture has always been billed as "A John Ford Film."

After completing Cheyenne Autumn (1964), the great director jumped at the chance to film O'Casey's story, offering to take the job for a mere $50,000. But only a few weeks into filming, he became ill, and the producers were forced to replace him with Cardiff, a noted cinematographer who had worked successfully with filmmaker Michael Powell on the British classics Black Narcissus (1947) and The Red Shoes (1948). Ford's contributions to Young Cassidy total only about 10 minutes of screen time, although those are some of the most tender and fully realized, especially the scenes he shot between Rod Taylor as Cassidy and Julie Christie as his first love. Ford made only one more film, Seven Women (1966) before his death in 1973.

Australian-born Taylor was highly praised for his work in Young Cassidy, which several critics considered his finest role. But the film is also notable for sterling supporting players, not only early screen appearances of future stars Christie and Maggie Smith, but also the performances of several of the most respected veterans of British stage and screen. At this point in their long careers, all of them had been given the title "knight" or "dame" in recognition of their professional achievements. Dame Flora Robson portrayed Cassidy's understanding mother; later in the film, he becomes the protege of the kindly Lady Gregory (Dame Edith Evans) and the famed poet William Butler Yeats (Sir Michael Redgrave). Although all three had long and successful stage careers, they also logged in combined screen time of more than 150 years (Evans, in fact, made her first picture in 1915). Not limited to British productions, their work also included a number of American films, and all three were Oscar nominated: Robson for Saratoga Trunk (1946), Redgrave for Mourning Becomes Electra (1947) and Evans for The Whisperers (1966).

Director: Jack Cardiff, John Ford (uncredited)
Producers: Robert Emmett Ginna, Robert D. Graff, Michael Killanin
Screenplay: John Whiting
Cinematography: Edward Scaife
Art Direction: Michael Stringer III
Music: Sean O'Riada
Cast: Rod Taylor (John Cassidy), Flora Robson (Mrs. Cassidy), Maggie Smith (Nora), Julie Christie (Daisy Battles), Edith Evans (Lady Gregory), Michael Redgrave (W.B. Yeats).
C-111m.

by Rob Nixon

Young Cassidy

Young Cassidy

Director John Ford and playwright Sean O'Casey were never able to strike up an ideal movie collaboration despite their best efforts. Ford filmed the screen adaptation of O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars (1936) with Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster and a number of players from Dublin's Abbey Theater, where the playwright got his start. After Ford completed the picture, he quickly moved on to another project. The producers of The Plough and the Stars decided to reshoot scenes, damaging the cohesiveness of O'Casey's story, Ford?s vision and Stanwyck's performance. The outcome was not a welcome one for anyone concerned, and O'Casey was reported to have described the film as "a sword without a blade, a banner without a staff, an arrow without a head." By the time filming was set to begin on O'Casey's 1956 autobiography, however, he had apparently changed his opinion somewhat, giving his okay to the script of Young Cassidy (1965) shortly before he died. The film covers about a dozen years in O'Casey's (called "John Cassidy" in the film) young life, from 1911, when the Irish were staunchly protesting British rule, to his move to England in the 1920s after his play "The Plough and the Stars" caused riots and lost him many supporters. The rebellious and uncertain atmosphere of the times, with the Citizens Army confronting the British in the streets and intellectuals like O'Casey doing battle with their pens , is captured on location in Dublin by director Jack Cardiff, but the picture has always been billed as "A John Ford Film." After completing Cheyenne Autumn (1964), the great director jumped at the chance to film O'Casey's story, offering to take the job for a mere $50,000. But only a few weeks into filming, he became ill, and the producers were forced to replace him with Cardiff, a noted cinematographer who had worked successfully with filmmaker Michael Powell on the British classics Black Narcissus (1947) and The Red Shoes (1948). Ford's contributions to Young Cassidy total only about 10 minutes of screen time, although those are some of the most tender and fully realized, especially the scenes he shot between Rod Taylor as Cassidy and Julie Christie as his first love. Ford made only one more film, Seven Women (1966) before his death in 1973. Australian-born Taylor was highly praised for his work in Young Cassidy, which several critics considered his finest role. But the film is also notable for sterling supporting players, not only early screen appearances of future stars Christie and Maggie Smith, but also the performances of several of the most respected veterans of British stage and screen. At this point in their long careers, all of them had been given the title "knight" or "dame" in recognition of their professional achievements. Dame Flora Robson portrayed Cassidy's understanding mother; later in the film, he becomes the protege of the kindly Lady Gregory (Dame Edith Evans) and the famed poet William Butler Yeats (Sir Michael Redgrave). Although all three had long and successful stage careers, they also logged in combined screen time of more than 150 years (Evans, in fact, made her first picture in 1915). Not limited to British productions, their work also included a number of American films, and all three were Oscar nominated: Robson for Saratoga Trunk (1946), Redgrave for Mourning Becomes Electra (1947) and Evans for The Whisperers (1966). Director: Jack Cardiff, John Ford (uncredited) Producers: Robert Emmett Ginna, Robert D. Graff, Michael Killanin Screenplay: John Whiting Cinematography: Edward Scaife Art Direction: Michael Stringer III Music: Sean O'Riada Cast: Rod Taylor (John Cassidy), Flora Robson (Mrs. Cassidy), Maggie Smith (Nora), Julie Christie (Daisy Battles), Edith Evans (Lady Gregory), Michael Redgrave (W.B. Yeats). C-111m. by Rob Nixon

Quotes

Trivia

Director 'Ford, John' fell ill during production and was replaced by Jack Cardiff.

Notes

Filmed on location in and around Dublin. Opened in London in February 1965; running time: 110 min. Original director John Ford was replaced by Jack Cardiff, who receives screen credit.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring March 1965

John Ford was taken off the picture after thirteen days on account of illness prompted by heavy drinking. He was replaced by Cardiff. Ironically, Ford wanted to direct the picture so badly that he only took a $50,000 fee.

Released in United States Spring March 1965