Ryan's Daughter


3h 26m 1970
Ryan's Daughter

Brief Synopsis

An Irish lass is branded a traitor when she falls for a British soldier.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Drama
War
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 9 Nov 1970
Production Company
Faraway Productions
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United Kingdom
Location
Ireland

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 26m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1, 2.20 : 1

Synopsis

In an Irish seaside town in 1916, Rosy Ryan, daughter of tavern owner Tom Ryan, accepts the marriage proposal of her former schoolteacher, widower Charles Shaughnessy. After the marriage, Rosy quickly realizes that Charles lacks interest in sex, and she goes to talk with Father Collins, who reprimands her and tries to convince her that she is a lucky woman to have such a good man for a husband. Maj. Randolph Doryan, a shell-shocked British soldier, arrives in town to help control contact between the Irish Republican Army and the Germans, and soon Rosy and the young soldier fall in love. They make love in the meadow outside of town, and Michael, the town idiot, finds a button torn from Randolph's clothing and walks through the town displaying the evidence. The townspeople begin to gossip, but the talk does not affect Charles, who is confident that the romance will weaken by itself. When IRA leader Tim O'Leary arrives seeking aid to retrieve munitions from the offshore ruins of a German ship, Tom Ryan, fearful of reprisals, informs on O'Leary, and the British soldiers quickly arrest him. The townspeople, however, believe Rosy to be the traitor because of her relationship with Randolph and descend on Charles's house, strip her, and cut off her hair, while Charles and Tom helplessly watch. Randolph, realizing that he has lost Rosy, shoots himself. Rosy, meanwhile, decides to leave town with Charles, who is willing to try and start a new life in Dublin.

Film Details

Genre
Romance
Drama
War
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 9 Nov 1970
Production Company
Faraway Productions
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United Kingdom
Location
Ireland

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 26m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1, 2.20 : 1

Award Wins

Best Cinematography

1970

Best Supporting Actor

1970
John Mills

Award Nominations

Best Actress

1970
Sarah Miles

Best Sound

1970

Articles

Ryan's Daughter


David Lean's career divides neatly into two phases – the smaller movies, such as Great Expectations (1946) and Summertime (1955), and the epic ones, including The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Thanks to his cinematic gifts, however, the smaller ones often make major impressions on audiences and the epic ones maintain a character-driven intimacy despite their sweeping stories and photogenic settings. Ryan's Daughter, released in 1970, illustrates Lean's ability to tell a multilayered psychological tale against a backdrop of spectacular beauty that doesn't compete with the plot but actually adds to its expressive power. Still, critics were cool to the picture, and a good showing in the Academy Awards race – Oscars® for supporting actor John Mills and cinematographer Freddie Young, nominations for actress Sarah Miles and the sound technicians – didn't raise its earnings above fair to middling, except in Britain, where it did very well. Disappointed by its reception, Lean didn't complete another film until 1984, when A Passage to India scored a critical hit. The phenomenon of large-scale roadshow productions (which Lawrence of Arabia helped launch) also took a fatal hit, already weakened by the failures of splashy spectacles like Karel Reisz's Isadora and Robert Wise's Star! in 1968. Happily, the film's reputation has risen in subsequent years, and most of its 206 minutes are quite engaging today.

Set in Killary, a tiny Irish village, Ryan's Daughter begins in 1916, when the townsfolk are going about their usual activities amid two large distractions: World War I and the perennial conflict between Irish nationalism and British rule. Three key characters appear in the early scenes: Charles Shaughnessy, a middle-aged schoolteacher whose wife died several years earlier; Rosy Ryan, a bright young woman who persuades Charles to marry her despite their difference in age; and Father Collins, a Roman Catholic priest who uses bluff, bluster, and an occasional clout in the head to keep the villagers on reasonably good behavior. Later we learn that Rosy's father, Thomas Ryan, is an informer for the British, and another twist happens with the arrival of Randolph Doryan, a British major who's been posted to the nearby army garrison. He's a war hero with a shattered leg and shellshock, and no sooner does he enter Killary than Rosy, sorely disenchanted by Charles's lack of passion in their marriage, falls desperately in love with him. Also on hand are a nationalist gunrunner, who reveals his devotion to the cause by shooting down a hapless policeman in an early scene, and a mute village idiot named Michael, who sparks more than one plot development even though he's the lowliest inhabitant in town. The story builds toward two impressive climaxes. One is physical, when the villagers struggle to salvage German war material that has broken loose in the sea during a mighty storm. The other is psychological, when public opinion finds Rosy guilty of a transgression actually committed by her father, who's too cowardly to admit his action and save her from a nasty, unwarranted fate.

Although it's named after a woman, Ryan's Daughter resembles some other films from this period of Lean's career by focusing mainly on men. The big exception is the eponymous heroine, played with sensitivity and charm by Miles, who lost the lead in Doctor Zhivago (1965) to Julie Christie but used early roles in Peter Glenville's Term of Trial (1962) and Joseph Losey's The Servant (1963) to demonstrate her talent for playing frisky women. While she's certainly no shrinking violet, Rosy isn't a troublemaker either, and when Charles turns out to be a colder fish than she imagined – more interested in balancing his checkbook and pressing flowers than having romantic interludes in her arms – it's hard to blame her for turning to Major Doryan for solace. When they sneak off for their first rendezvous, Lean films the encounter with a superb blend of realism and impressionism, using landscape and camera movement to create a scene of true lovemaking rather than mundane sex. The last episode is one of the most touching in the film, hinting at the future of Rosy and Charles just ambiguously enough to let each moviegoer decide whether they'll enter the next phase of their lives separately or together.

Robert Bolt wrote Ryan's Daughter with Miles, his wife at the time, explicitly in mind. He and Lean found the idea of a wholly original story especially enticing after their partnership on Doctor Zhivago, which involved "adapting a big book which takes four days to read and would run for a day if we filmed it all, and chopping it down to three hours," as Lean described it. In the new project, which was loosely suggested by Gustave Flaubert's great nineteenth-century novel Madame Bovary, they used the theme of infidelity to explore what Lean called "the difficulty of growing up" and the "wild and darker side" of human nature, using the untamed Irish coast as both background and metaphor.

Even though it was written to order, filming the picture wasn't easy. According to producer Anthony Havelock-Allan, the availability dates of Miles and Robert Mitchum made preproduction something of a rush, preventing Lean from assembling a proper shooting script. Killary was built from scratch at the tip of a peninsula in southwest Ireland, where the weather proved to be ferocious. Rain sometimes halted the production for weeks – during one ten-day period only a minute of film was shot – and location work dragged on for ten months, with little for people to do but get bored, exasperated, and in some cases drunk. Accidents occurred as well. Christopher Jones, the American television actor playing Major Doryan, totaled his sports car on a winding road. Trevor Howard, playing Father Collins, was hospitalized after falling off a horse. Frogmen saved Howard and Mills from drowning when a fishing-boat scene went wrong. Two vehicles sank in a peat bog. At one point, weather over the ocean was so severe that Lean took his crew to South Africa to shoot part of the tempest scene. When the picture was finally completed, MGM claimed to have five million dollars for promotion, but Havelock-Allan said the studio's financial woes made publicity almost nonexistent.

Many now believe that Ryan's Daughter was underrated in its day, falling prey to overly high expectations fed by the huge popularity of Lean's three previous pictures (The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, and Doctor Zhivago) and by the participation of screenwriter Bolt, who had written the latter two. Cast against type, Mitchum gives an intelligently nuanced performance as Charles the schoolteacher. Miles is appealing and persuasive as the story's only significant female, and Jones has the right moody look as the battle-scarred lover. Howard hollers and harangues too much as the good-hearted priest, but Mills, in the last of his five movies with Lean, comes close to stealing every scene he's in as the unfortunate Michael, hiding his movie-star looks behind ugly makeup, raggedy clothes, crooked movements, and misshapen poses worthy of a grotesque tramp in a Luis Buñuel movie. It's bravura acting in every way, more than worthy of the Oscar® that rewarded it.

Director: David Lean
Producer: Anthony Havelock-Allan
Screenplay: Robert Bolt
Cinematographer: Freddie Young
Film Editing: Norman Savage
Production Design: Stephen Grimes Art Direction: Roy Walker
Music: Maurice Jarre
With: Robert Mitchum (Charles), Trevor Howard (Father Collins), Christopher Jones (Major Doryan), John Mills (Michael), Leo McKern (Thomas Ryan), Sarah Miles (Rosy), Barry Foster (Tim O'Leary), Marie Kean (Mrs. McCardle), Evin Crowley (Maureen), Arthur O'Sullivan (Mr. McCardle), Philip O'Flynn (Paddy), Gerald Sim (Captain), Douglas Sheldon (Driver), Barry Jackson (Corporal), Des Keogh (Lanky Private), Niall Toibin (O'Keefe), Donal Neligan (Maureen's Boyfriend), Brian O'Higgins (Constable O'Connor), Niall O'Brien (Bernard), Owen Sullivan (Joseph).
C-202m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning.

by David Sterritt
Ryan's Daughter

Ryan's Daughter

David Lean's career divides neatly into two phases – the smaller movies, such as Great Expectations (1946) and Summertime (1955), and the epic ones, including The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Thanks to his cinematic gifts, however, the smaller ones often make major impressions on audiences and the epic ones maintain a character-driven intimacy despite their sweeping stories and photogenic settings. Ryan's Daughter, released in 1970, illustrates Lean's ability to tell a multilayered psychological tale against a backdrop of spectacular beauty that doesn't compete with the plot but actually adds to its expressive power. Still, critics were cool to the picture, and a good showing in the Academy Awards race – Oscars® for supporting actor John Mills and cinematographer Freddie Young, nominations for actress Sarah Miles and the sound technicians – didn't raise its earnings above fair to middling, except in Britain, where it did very well. Disappointed by its reception, Lean didn't complete another film until 1984, when A Passage to India scored a critical hit. The phenomenon of large-scale roadshow productions (which Lawrence of Arabia helped launch) also took a fatal hit, already weakened by the failures of splashy spectacles like Karel Reisz's Isadora and Robert Wise's Star! in 1968. Happily, the film's reputation has risen in subsequent years, and most of its 206 minutes are quite engaging today. Set in Killary, a tiny Irish village, Ryan's Daughter begins in 1916, when the townsfolk are going about their usual activities amid two large distractions: World War I and the perennial conflict between Irish nationalism and British rule. Three key characters appear in the early scenes: Charles Shaughnessy, a middle-aged schoolteacher whose wife died several years earlier; Rosy Ryan, a bright young woman who persuades Charles to marry her despite their difference in age; and Father Collins, a Roman Catholic priest who uses bluff, bluster, and an occasional clout in the head to keep the villagers on reasonably good behavior. Later we learn that Rosy's father, Thomas Ryan, is an informer for the British, and another twist happens with the arrival of Randolph Doryan, a British major who's been posted to the nearby army garrison. He's a war hero with a shattered leg and shellshock, and no sooner does he enter Killary than Rosy, sorely disenchanted by Charles's lack of passion in their marriage, falls desperately in love with him. Also on hand are a nationalist gunrunner, who reveals his devotion to the cause by shooting down a hapless policeman in an early scene, and a mute village idiot named Michael, who sparks more than one plot development even though he's the lowliest inhabitant in town. The story builds toward two impressive climaxes. One is physical, when the villagers struggle to salvage German war material that has broken loose in the sea during a mighty storm. The other is psychological, when public opinion finds Rosy guilty of a transgression actually committed by her father, who's too cowardly to admit his action and save her from a nasty, unwarranted fate. Although it's named after a woman, Ryan's Daughter resembles some other films from this period of Lean's career by focusing mainly on men. The big exception is the eponymous heroine, played with sensitivity and charm by Miles, who lost the lead in Doctor Zhivago (1965) to Julie Christie but used early roles in Peter Glenville's Term of Trial (1962) and Joseph Losey's The Servant (1963) to demonstrate her talent for playing frisky women. While she's certainly no shrinking violet, Rosy isn't a troublemaker either, and when Charles turns out to be a colder fish than she imagined – more interested in balancing his checkbook and pressing flowers than having romantic interludes in her arms – it's hard to blame her for turning to Major Doryan for solace. When they sneak off for their first rendezvous, Lean films the encounter with a superb blend of realism and impressionism, using landscape and camera movement to create a scene of true lovemaking rather than mundane sex. The last episode is one of the most touching in the film, hinting at the future of Rosy and Charles just ambiguously enough to let each moviegoer decide whether they'll enter the next phase of their lives separately or together. Robert Bolt wrote Ryan's Daughter with Miles, his wife at the time, explicitly in mind. He and Lean found the idea of a wholly original story especially enticing after their partnership on Doctor Zhivago, which involved "adapting a big book which takes four days to read and would run for a day if we filmed it all, and chopping it down to three hours," as Lean described it. In the new project, which was loosely suggested by Gustave Flaubert's great nineteenth-century novel Madame Bovary, they used the theme of infidelity to explore what Lean called "the difficulty of growing up" and the "wild and darker side" of human nature, using the untamed Irish coast as both background and metaphor. Even though it was written to order, filming the picture wasn't easy. According to producer Anthony Havelock-Allan, the availability dates of Miles and Robert Mitchum made preproduction something of a rush, preventing Lean from assembling a proper shooting script. Killary was built from scratch at the tip of a peninsula in southwest Ireland, where the weather proved to be ferocious. Rain sometimes halted the production for weeks – during one ten-day period only a minute of film was shot – and location work dragged on for ten months, with little for people to do but get bored, exasperated, and in some cases drunk. Accidents occurred as well. Christopher Jones, the American television actor playing Major Doryan, totaled his sports car on a winding road. Trevor Howard, playing Father Collins, was hospitalized after falling off a horse. Frogmen saved Howard and Mills from drowning when a fishing-boat scene went wrong. Two vehicles sank in a peat bog. At one point, weather over the ocean was so severe that Lean took his crew to South Africa to shoot part of the tempest scene. When the picture was finally completed, MGM claimed to have five million dollars for promotion, but Havelock-Allan said the studio's financial woes made publicity almost nonexistent. Many now believe that Ryan's Daughter was underrated in its day, falling prey to overly high expectations fed by the huge popularity of Lean's three previous pictures (The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, and Doctor Zhivago) and by the participation of screenwriter Bolt, who had written the latter two. Cast against type, Mitchum gives an intelligently nuanced performance as Charles the schoolteacher. Miles is appealing and persuasive as the story's only significant female, and Jones has the right moody look as the battle-scarred lover. Howard hollers and harangues too much as the good-hearted priest, but Mills, in the last of his five movies with Lean, comes close to stealing every scene he's in as the unfortunate Michael, hiding his movie-star looks behind ugly makeup, raggedy clothes, crooked movements, and misshapen poses worthy of a grotesque tramp in a Luis Buñuel movie. It's bravura acting in every way, more than worthy of the Oscar® that rewarded it. Director: David Lean Producer: Anthony Havelock-Allan Screenplay: Robert Bolt Cinematographer: Freddie Young Film Editing: Norman Savage Production Design: Stephen Grimes Art Direction: Roy Walker Music: Maurice Jarre With: Robert Mitchum (Charles), Trevor Howard (Father Collins), Christopher Jones (Major Doryan), John Mills (Michael), Leo McKern (Thomas Ryan), Sarah Miles (Rosy), Barry Foster (Tim O'Leary), Marie Kean (Mrs. McCardle), Evin Crowley (Maureen), Arthur O'Sullivan (Mr. McCardle), Philip O'Flynn (Paddy), Gerald Sim (Captain), Douglas Sheldon (Driver), Barry Jackson (Corporal), Des Keogh (Lanky Private), Niall Toibin (O'Keefe), Donal Neligan (Maureen's Boyfriend), Brian O'Higgins (Constable O'Connor), Niall O'Brien (Bernard), Owen Sullivan (Joseph). C-202m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning. by David Sterritt

Ryan's Daughter - David Lean's RYAN'S DAUGHTER on DVD


Rosy Ryan (Sarah Miles) is the daughter of local pub owner Thomas Ryan (Leo McKern), living in a small village on the coast of Ireland. She is a beautiful, restless young woman who longs for adventures though she's in a place where there's really no hope of going anywhere. It's a village where bigotry is rampant, as is hatred for the British. The locals' favorite pastime appears to by taking sport in humiliating the village idiot Michael (John Mills, who won an Oscar® for his performance).

Rosy sets her sites on the handsome young school master Charles Schaughnessy (Robert Mitchum), a quiet, mild-mannered man who becomes taken with the young woman. They get married in one of the more memorable movie weddings, that starts in a quite ceremony and degenerates into a sort of Bacchanalian orgy, that ends with the couple going up to their room to consummate their marriage, while the louts outside pelt the windows with dried corn. But it's when things calm down that the real surprise comes to Rosy. Charles makes love to her tenderly and gently rather than passionately, and when done rolls over and goes to sleep. It is clear that the experience has been anything but inspiring to Rosy.

And the day to day rhythm of married life offers no excitement, either. She discovers that Charles is dull rather than just quiet, and the contemplative life is simply intolerable to her. She spends a lot of time talking to local priest Father Collins about her predicament, complaining that what she has just isn't enough. Collins cautions her to be careful what she wishes for, because she'll sure as hell get it.

The excitement Rosy's been looking for finally arrives. She discovers him sitting in her father's pub: a British soldier named Randolph Doryan, who is both handsome and semi-tragic, having been permanently wounded in the war. It isn't long before they have started a torrid affair in which Rosy achieves the passion that has been missing in her marriage and her life. But this is a particularly dangerous liaison, since the hatred of the British (and the IRA activity going on underground in the village) make the prospect of an Irish girl carrying on with a British soldier tantamount to treason.

The locals' tongues are set to wagging very early on, but it takes her husband Charles a little longer to catch on. He suspects that something is going on, and even asks her at one point if there is anything between her and the soldier, which she denies. In one fascinating, prolonged scene, Charles takes his class down to the beach to collect specific types of shells. While on the beach he sees two sets of footprints walking side by side, one belonging to a female and the other obviously belonging to the soldier Doryan, with his slight drag on one foot. He follows the footprints to a grotto inside which he believes his wife and the soldier to be, and tries to wait them out (ironically, unknown to Charles, the only person in the cave is Michael, the village idiot).

The anti-British sentiment in the village sharpens when IRA hero Tim O'Leary (Barry Foster) arrives in town to transport guns and munitions. But they are stopped by the British (led by Doryan). When Tim O'Leary tries to escape, and Doryan shoots him down in front of the whole village. After this, the animosity toward Rosy swings out of control: the villagers storm the Shaughnessy's home and take Rosy, stripping her and cutting her hair off, not leaving until Father Collins arrives to stop them. Rosy and Charles are left together in their humiliation. Charles tells her that he always knew that they were having an affair, but he had always hoped it was something that would burn itself out. Now it looks like that affair is all over, and Charles, who has remained faithful to Rosy despite her unfaithfulness. Unable to stay in the village any longer, the pair decide to leave for Dublin where they might possible start a new life.

Coming after the enormous success of Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, critics and audiences alike were anxiously anticipating the next epic from director David Lean. What they weren't expecting was what they got with Ryan's Daughter: a paper-thin story stretched to epic proportions. In Dr. Zhivago Lean demonstrated that he could tell an intimate love story against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. But in Ryan's Daughter the triangle is played out against a revolution that never happens. It's as if Lean is trying to test the patience of the audience.

The performances can't be faulted. Robert Mitchum is amazing as the quiet husband. Never before had he been allowed to convey so much through his body language and facial expressions; he is alternately strong, loving, and tragic. Sarah Miles gives a strong performance as the woman who is literally torn between two lovers and can't seem to help herself, even when her actions start to get dangerous. Christopher Stone is something of a cypher as the suffering soldier, but Trevor Howard is a powerhouse and Father Collins, and John Mills, of course, is wonderful. The film itself is gorgeous: Freddie Francis' sumptuous cinematography which perfectly captures the Irish coast (and is particularly impressive in the storm sequence) justifiably won the film's second Academy Award.

For their new Special Edition, Warner Bros. has struck the transfer from newly restored 65mm source elements. The result is a splendid transfer with incredible rich colors and pure flesh tones. The audio feature strong tone quality, but tends to be a little light on bass. The two disc set includes a 35th Anniversary "making of" documentary in three parts, 2 vintage documentaries, and a full length commentary by Lade Sandra Lean, Sarah Miles, Petrine Day Mitchum (daughter), and a host of others.

For more information about Ryan's Daughter, visit Warner Video. To order Ryan's Daughter, go to TCM Shopping.

by Fred Hunter

Ryan's Daughter - David Lean's RYAN'S DAUGHTER on DVD

Rosy Ryan (Sarah Miles) is the daughter of local pub owner Thomas Ryan (Leo McKern), living in a small village on the coast of Ireland. She is a beautiful, restless young woman who longs for adventures though she's in a place where there's really no hope of going anywhere. It's a village where bigotry is rampant, as is hatred for the British. The locals' favorite pastime appears to by taking sport in humiliating the village idiot Michael (John Mills, who won an Oscar® for his performance). Rosy sets her sites on the handsome young school master Charles Schaughnessy (Robert Mitchum), a quiet, mild-mannered man who becomes taken with the young woman. They get married in one of the more memorable movie weddings, that starts in a quite ceremony and degenerates into a sort of Bacchanalian orgy, that ends with the couple going up to their room to consummate their marriage, while the louts outside pelt the windows with dried corn. But it's when things calm down that the real surprise comes to Rosy. Charles makes love to her tenderly and gently rather than passionately, and when done rolls over and goes to sleep. It is clear that the experience has been anything but inspiring to Rosy. And the day to day rhythm of married life offers no excitement, either. She discovers that Charles is dull rather than just quiet, and the contemplative life is simply intolerable to her. She spends a lot of time talking to local priest Father Collins about her predicament, complaining that what she has just isn't enough. Collins cautions her to be careful what she wishes for, because she'll sure as hell get it. The excitement Rosy's been looking for finally arrives. She discovers him sitting in her father's pub: a British soldier named Randolph Doryan, who is both handsome and semi-tragic, having been permanently wounded in the war. It isn't long before they have started a torrid affair in which Rosy achieves the passion that has been missing in her marriage and her life. But this is a particularly dangerous liaison, since the hatred of the British (and the IRA activity going on underground in the village) make the prospect of an Irish girl carrying on with a British soldier tantamount to treason. The locals' tongues are set to wagging very early on, but it takes her husband Charles a little longer to catch on. He suspects that something is going on, and even asks her at one point if there is anything between her and the soldier, which she denies. In one fascinating, prolonged scene, Charles takes his class down to the beach to collect specific types of shells. While on the beach he sees two sets of footprints walking side by side, one belonging to a female and the other obviously belonging to the soldier Doryan, with his slight drag on one foot. He follows the footprints to a grotto inside which he believes his wife and the soldier to be, and tries to wait them out (ironically, unknown to Charles, the only person in the cave is Michael, the village idiot). The anti-British sentiment in the village sharpens when IRA hero Tim O'Leary (Barry Foster) arrives in town to transport guns and munitions. But they are stopped by the British (led by Doryan). When Tim O'Leary tries to escape, and Doryan shoots him down in front of the whole village. After this, the animosity toward Rosy swings out of control: the villagers storm the Shaughnessy's home and take Rosy, stripping her and cutting her hair off, not leaving until Father Collins arrives to stop them. Rosy and Charles are left together in their humiliation. Charles tells her that he always knew that they were having an affair, but he had always hoped it was something that would burn itself out. Now it looks like that affair is all over, and Charles, who has remained faithful to Rosy despite her unfaithfulness. Unable to stay in the village any longer, the pair decide to leave for Dublin where they might possible start a new life. Coming after the enormous success of Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, critics and audiences alike were anxiously anticipating the next epic from director David Lean. What they weren't expecting was what they got with Ryan's Daughter: a paper-thin story stretched to epic proportions. In Dr. Zhivago Lean demonstrated that he could tell an intimate love story against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. But in Ryan's Daughter the triangle is played out against a revolution that never happens. It's as if Lean is trying to test the patience of the audience. The performances can't be faulted. Robert Mitchum is amazing as the quiet husband. Never before had he been allowed to convey so much through his body language and facial expressions; he is alternately strong, loving, and tragic. Sarah Miles gives a strong performance as the woman who is literally torn between two lovers and can't seem to help herself, even when her actions start to get dangerous. Christopher Stone is something of a cypher as the suffering soldier, but Trevor Howard is a powerhouse and Father Collins, and John Mills, of course, is wonderful. The film itself is gorgeous: Freddie Francis' sumptuous cinematography which perfectly captures the Irish coast (and is particularly impressive in the storm sequence) justifiably won the film's second Academy Award. For their new Special Edition, Warner Bros. has struck the transfer from newly restored 65mm source elements. The result is a splendid transfer with incredible rich colors and pure flesh tones. The audio feature strong tone quality, but tends to be a little light on bass. The two disc set includes a 35th Anniversary "making of" documentary in three parts, 2 vintage documentaries, and a full length commentary by Lade Sandra Lean, Sarah Miles, Petrine Day Mitchum (daughter), and a host of others. For more information about Ryan's Daughter, visit Warner Video. To order Ryan's Daughter, go to TCM Shopping. by Fred Hunter

Quotes

Trivia

The village of "Kirrary" was built just for the film and dismantled afterwards -- shops, schoolhouse, church, pub, post office, etc. 200 workmen built it all using slate and 20,000 tons of granite from a dozen local quarries; anything less substantial wouldn't have stood up to the Atlantic gales. Many buildings had fitted interiors, ceilings, lighting, plumbing and even working fireplaces and chimneys.

In 1971, 'John Mills' won best supporting actor for playing a mute in this film. He bowed and said nothing in the shortest acceptance speech on record.

Notes

Filmed on location on the western coast of Ireland. Opened in London in December 1970.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall November 1970

Released in United States on Video March 14, 1989

Released in United States on Video March 14, 1989

Released in United States Fall November 1970