Cast & Crew
Denis O Dea
In Ireland, inspector Michael Dillon leaves the police barracks of Ballinalough and proceeds on foot through the rural countryside, his journey marked by two neighbors and by Micky J., a poteen maker or moonshiner, who tries to elude him. Although Michael catches him, Micky is relieved to learn that the policeman's destination is the ancestral estate of Dan O'Flaherty, and follows him the rest of the way. Dan greets Michael as an old friend and invites him into his cottage below the old castle tower. The men have a friendly chat about old times, poteen and other matters. Then the two neighbors arrive, offering to pay Dan's fine, thus revealing the true purpose of Michael's visit: Michael has a warrant to take Dan to prison for failing to pay the fine he was charged after hitting Phelim O'Feeney, the family enemy, in the head. From under a rock in the floor, Dan retrieves twice the amount of money needed to stay out of prison. However, as Dan believes that paying the fine would be admitting that Phelim, who called him a liar, did not deserve the contusion, he returns the money to its place and thanks the neighbors for their generosity. Dan arranges with Michael to come to the jail on Friday after dinner. At the appointed time, while Dan bids his family and neighbors farewell, Phelim himself arrives and offers to pay the fine, but Dan proudly insists on serving the prison sentence, which he believes is the way to uphold the O'Flaherty name. At the barracks, Michael is waiting for him and the two friends, with arms around each other, enter the prison building.
At the Dunfaill railway station, the Ballyscran and Dunfaill train pulls in and the porter, Paddy Morrisey announces to the passengers that there will be "one minute's wait only" before it departs. At his suggestion, the coach passengers briskly head for the station's refreshment bar manned by Pegeen Mallory. Mr. O'Brien, the engineer, drinks a beer and entertains the lively crowd with a ghost story. Outside Mrs. Falsey, traveling with her niece Mary Ann McMahon, encounters farmer Barney Domigan and his son Christy. When Barney explains that he is taking his son to arrange a marriage with Mary Ryan, who has a three-hundred-pound dowry, Mrs. Falsey listens thoughtfully. From the first-class compartment, Col. and Mrs. Charles Frobishire, an older, stern-faced British couple, ask Paddy to open their door, but the porter cheerfully explains that he no longer has the key. Instead he offers to water Mrs. Frobishire's bouquet of flowers, which he mistakenly presumes is a bridal bouquet. After the passengers are called back to the train, Paddy opens the door, which was not locked, and returns the freshened flowers, wishing Mrs. Frobishire "a child for every blossom." The train is ready to depart when a prize goat is delivered and another "minute's wait" announced. As the railroad workers argue about the wisdom of putting the animal in the baggage department, the passengers scurry back to the bar, where O'Brien continues his ghostly tale. Mrs. Falsey and Barney continue their conversation, oblivious to Christy and Mary Ann's growing attraction to each other. After Paddy moves the confused Frobishires to a third-class compartment, places the goat inside their first-class cabin, and the passengers are re-boarded, another "minute's wait" is announced. Mrs. Kinsella, the fisherwoman, has just arrived and insists on loading lobsters for the Bishop's Golden Jubilee Dinner. The passengers race back to the bar, while the lobsters are crammed in with the Frobishires. The passengers are then re-boarded and the train is ready to leave, when the telephone rings. Pegeen reports that the Ballyscran Hurling Team's bus has broken and the team is on its way. As the athletes, who have won a championship match, parade alongside bagpipers to the station, Mrs. Falsey suggests to Barney that Mary Ann would be a better choice for Christy than Mary Ryan. Assuming that Mary Ann is penniless, as her father died fighting with the Americans in the war, Barney patiently insists that a bride needs a dowry. At that, Mrs. Falsey triumphantly pulls out a bank statement, revealing that Mary Ann inherited her father's $10,000 government "bonus" for "getting himself killed." The Frobishires ask for a cup of tea, so Paddy takes them to an outdoor table away from the heightened gaiety. Paddy then goes inside the bar and joins Pegeen in a jig. Mrs. Falsey and Barney come to an agreement, while Mary Ann and Christy come to a similar decision while kissing in a boxcar. After passengers are recruited to help attach an additional carriage to the train for the hurlers, Paddy and Pegeen, who have been "walking out together" for almost twelve years, are left alone. The passengers are returning to their seats, when Christy confronts Barney with an ultimatum: he will wed Mary Ann or join the foreign legion. His independent thinking irritates Barney, who then offends Mr. Rourke, the station master, by recalling a lapse in his great-grandfather's good behavior many years ago. When Rourke protests that the old story is a lie, the two prepare to fight. Inside, Pegeen answers affirmatively when Paddy asks if she wants to be "buried with his people." The train whistle blows, prompting almost everyone to return to his proper place, and the train chugs out of the station, leaving the forgotten Frobishires behind.
In Galway, in 1921 during the "Troubles" of the "Black and Tan War," political prisoner Sean Curran awaits his execution, while sympathizers gather outside the jail to pray for him. Two nuns, one of whom claims to be Sean's sister, ask a sympathetic warder to be allowed a last visit with the condemned man. The warder takes them inside and the major in charge, who is weary of his "hangman" role, orders the women escorted to Sean's cell. Later, when the clock strikes the hour, the nuns leave, one of them doubled over in grief. Sgt. Michael O'Hara helps the nuns into a cab and notices that one wears high heels, but shrugs it off. Afterward, when the major and his soldiers come to take Sean to the gallows, they find only Peggy O'Donnell, an actress from Brooklyn, in his cell. The police search the town, while Sean and his rescuer slip into a theater. After dark, Sean, disguised as a balladeer and accompanied by a donkey, passes through the police blockade with the help of the warder, who confirms that Sean is the minstrel Jimmy Walsh. O'Hara is guarding an area of the waterfront called the Spanish Arch, when his temperamental wife, to whom Sean is a hero, arrives with his dinner. Although she has been nagging O'Hara all evening about his part in executing "the greatest man in Ireland today," when she sees a five-hundred-pound reward for Sean's capture, she considers the futility of his plight and the usefulness of the money. The disguised Sean arrives with his donkey and offers to sing. In his repertoire is the revolutionary song, "The Rising of the Moon," which O'Hara, his wife recalls, used to sing during their courting days. The couple begins to bicker, allowing Sean to board a rowboat that has come for him. When O'Hara realizes that Sean is escaping, he calls to the rowers, threatening to shoot, but then has second thoughts, prompted by his love of Ireland. He begins to sing the song, which, he admits, is somewhat treasonous, and his wife joins in. Afterward, in a loving mood, she returns home, leaving O'Hara to wonder if he has been a fool. Meanwhile, Sean rows to freedom.
Denis O Dea
Joseph O Dea
Jimmy O Dea
Anita Sharp Bolster
Michael O Duffy
J. G. Devlin
John Keegan Casey
Brian Desmond Hurst
Frank S. Nugent
Eamonn O Gallagher
Earnon O Malley
Lionel O Malley
Basil Fenton Smith
The Rising of the Moon
The first tale, "The Majesty of the Law," is based on a 1936 story by Frank O'Connor, a well-known Irish author. Power introduces it with a few words about how peaceable the Irish people are - so calm and harmonious that it's surprising they have a police force. This claim is as exaggerated as it sounds, but it seems true enough when we meet the episode's main character: Inspector Michael Dillon (Cyril Cusack), an officer of the law who has a warrant in his pocket and a heavy heart in his breast. The warrant authorizes the arrest of his friend Dan O'Flaherty (Noel Purcell), who refuses to pay a fine for hitting his neighbor Phelim O'Feeney (John Cowley) on the head with a walking stick. Phelim had it coming, Dan insists, and he's standing on principle even though he has enough money to pay and doesn't want to go to jail.
You can't help respecting steely Dan, and by the end of the story Phelim himself is offering to pay the penalty for him. Dan stands firm, however, and the fable comes to an unexpected conclusion. The only notable subplot involves Mickey J. (Jack MacGowran), a moonshiner who smells so strongly of fermented barley that Inspector Dillon would arrest him if he weren't so preoccupied with old Dan's dilemma. "The Majesty of the Law" turns out to be a somewhat ironic title, and the Irish turn out to be less peaceable than Power led us to believe. But the movie doesn't linger on its mild contradictions, preferring to tell the tale quickly so we can race along to the next one. You do have time to admire Ford's impeccable deep-focus visuals, though - when Dan raises his cane to point, it makes an eye-catching diagonal in the purest Ford style - and the acting is high-spirited to a fault.
Power introduces the second story, "A Minute's Wait," by saying that Irish railroads are as ordinary and unexciting as the people who ride them. Maybe so, but the episode that follows - based on a 1914 play by Martin J. McHugh - is less about a railroad than about a train, and less about the train than about a station, and less about the station than about the many things that happen there during what's supposed to be a one-minute stop. The instant the train wheels stop spinning, passengers pile out the doors and into the station pub, where barmaid Pegeen Mallory (Maureen Potter) is ready to serve them the liquid refreshments they crave. The only people who stay on board are Colonel and Mrs. Charles Frobisher (Michael Trubshawe and Anita Sharp Bolster), a stuffy old couple on their way to a wedding.
Other characters include railroad man Paddy Morrisey (Jimmy O'Dea), who's infatuated with Pegeen, and a couple of old chums working out a marriage arrangement for two unsuspecting youngsters who have no idea what's going on. Misunderstandings abound. After many delays the train eventually rolls on, minus the Frobishers - who stepped out for a cup of tea at exactly the wrong moment - but with the addition of a long-haired goat and a pile of prawns heading for a celebration in the city. Like the film's other stories, this one is crammed with over-the-top ethnic stereotypes that played better in 1957 than they do today. Ford's obvious love of Irish life smoothes down the roughest edges, though.
The film gets more serious with its third segment, "1921," revealing a side of modern Irish history quite different from the peacefulness that Power talks about. This episode is drawn from a 1917 play called The Rising of the Moon, written by Lady Gregory, a distinguished dramatist and Irish nationalist; the title comes from a ballad about insurgents who lost a battle to the British during the Irish Rebellion in 1798, but vowed to keep fighting until victory was in their grasp. The film version moves the action to 1921, when the Black and Tan War was raging. This conflict pitted Unionists, determined to keep Ireland in the British Empire, against Republicanists, determined to free the whole country from British rule.
At the beginning of "1921," convicted rebel Sean Curran (Donal Donnelly) is locked in prison and waiting to be hanged. The streets outside are swarming with people who think this is a very bad idea; the authorities may consider Sean a traitor, but many Irish folks regard him as a patriot. Sean's sister, a nun, arrives with another nun and begs to visit him before the execution. When they leave, something seems amiss, since one of the nuns is sporting high-heeled shoes. Sure enough, the nuns are phonies - the "sister" is really an actress from Brooklyn - and Sean has been sprung from jail. (A bogus nun wearing high heels also appears in Alfred Hitchcock's 1938 thriller The Lady Vanishes, perhaps influenced by Lady Gregory's play.) The rest of the story is an amusing account of Sean's escape from the city, unwittingly helped by a policeman who spends more time quibbling with his wife than focusing on his assignment. Donnelly, best known to Americans for John Huston's The Dead (1987) and Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather: Part III (1990), is marvelous as Sean, and this episode has the most striking visuals in the film, with canted camera angles lending tension to almost every shot.
The Rising of the Moon is one of two pictures Ford directed right after The Searchers, his legendary 1956 western, and both were highly personal projects. The Wings of Eagles (1957) starred John Wayne as a real-life Navy pilot and Hollywood screenwriter who had been one of Ford's best friends, while The Rising of the Moon let the director reconnect with his treasured Irish heritage. Ford aficionados will find echoes of his 1935 classic The Informer here, but it's best to approach The Rising of the Moon with moderate expectations. As we heard in Power's welcoming remarks, it's just a little movie made in Ireland, and it delivers nicely on that agreeable promise.
Producer: Michael Killanin
Director: John Ford
Screenplay: Lady Augusta Gregory (story "The Rising of the Moon"), Michael J. McHugh (story "A Minute's Wait"), Frank O'Connor (story "The Majesty of the Law"), Frank S. Nugent
Cinematography: Robert Krasker
Art Direction: Raymond Simm
Music: Eamonn O'Gallagher
Film Editing: Michael Gordon
Cast: Tyrone Power (Himself - Host), Noel Purcell (Dan O'Flaherty, 1st Episode), Cyril Cusack (Inspector Michael Dillon, 1st Episode), Jack MacGowran (Mickey J. - the poitín maker, 1st Episode), Jimmy O'Dea (Paddy Morrisey - porter, 2nd Episode), Tony Quinn (Andrew Rourke - Station Master, 2nd Episode), Paul Farrell (Jim O'Brien, 2nd Episode), Kevin Casey (Fireman McTigue, 2nd Episode), Maureen Potter (Pegeen Mallory - barmaid, 2nd Episode), May Craig (Mrs. Folsey, 2nd Episode).
BW-81m. Closed Captioning.
by David Sterritt
The Rising of the Moon
The working title of the film was Three Leaves of the Shamrock. After the opening title, a card reads: "The Three Stories-'The Majesty of the Law'-After the short story by Frank O'Connor; 'A Minute's Wait'-From the comedy by Martin J. McHugh; '1921'-Inspired by Lady Gregory's play 'The Rising of the Moon.'" Irish-American actor Tyrone Power's opening credit reads: "Introduced by Tyrone Power." As his credit indicates, Power makes a brief introductory comment before each segment. The list of opening cast credits ends with "and Players from the Abbey Theatre Company." Neither Power nor "Players from the Abbey Theatre Company," are listed in the end credits.
The other actors' opening credits appear alphabetically; in the end credits, they are listed according to the segment in which they appear. In all cast and crew credits, Irish surnames bearing the "O" prefix appear without an apostrophe, instead of the more Anglicized form in which an apostrophe is placed after the "O." For example, Denis O'Dea, Michael O'Duffy and Eamonn O'Gallegher appear in opening and closing credits as "Denis O Dea," "Michael O Duffy" and "Eamonn O Gallegher." Actress Maureen Connell's surname is misspelled "Connel" in the copyright record and studio publicity material. The character names of the nuns, Black and Tan officers and neighbors are listed onscreen as "Two Nuns, "Two Black and Tan Officers" and "The Neighbours," respectively. "Black and Tan" was Irish slang for British soldiers.
Although the copyright record lists the production company as Four Province Productions, onscreen credits and other material lists the company name as Four Provinces. The company name reflects a commonly used phrase that refers to the four provinces of Ireland: Ulster, Munster, Connaught and Leinster. According to a February 2, 1955 Variety news item and other sources, the Four Provinces' board was comprised of British film director Brian Desmond Hurst, Irish architect Michael Scott and producer Lord Michael Killanin, who was on the board of directors of a major aspirin distributor and Shell Oil Company. A July 9, 1957 Daily Variety news item added Power to the company's board. The Motion Picture Herald review reported that Killanin's goal was to establish a film industry in Ireland, which, according to a July 14, 1957 New York Times news item, as yet had no sound stage. In "the hope that this will result in the building of a permanent studio in Eire and the encouragement of production there by others," director John Ford and writer Frank S. Nugent agreed to be paid their respective Screen Guild's minimum rate, according to a February 1956 New York Times article. [A modern source states that Ireland opened its "first four wall studio" in 1958.]
Although a February 1955 Variety news item reported that the film would be released through Republic, the same studio that released Ford's previous film shot in Ireland, The Quiet Man, The Rising of the Moon was ultimately distributed by Warner Bros. Portions of the film, which was filmed entirely in Ireland, were shot in Dublin. According to the New York Times review, King John's Castle in Limerick served as a prison and Lord Gort's Lough Cutra in County Clare depicted the Tan headquarters.
Jimmy O' Dea, who appears in "A Minute's Wait," was described by a July 1957 Daily Variety piece as Ireland's top comic. As indicated in the opening credits, many of the actors in the film were players from Dublin's Abbey Theatre, Ireland's first national theater which was founded by William Butler Yeats, Edward Martyn and Lady Augusta Gregory. Gregory wrote the source play The Rising of the Moon upon which the "1921" segment of the film was based. Although, according to the February 1956 New York Times article, Maureen O'Hara and Barry Fitzgerald agreed to appear in the film if their schedules allowed, Ford claimed that he was reluctant to use performers with big "names" who "might throw these delicate stories out of balance."
American reviews were generally favorable, although noting, as did Hollywood Reporter, that one's "appreciation" of the film "may be tempered by the degree to which you are Irish, by derivation or inclination." The Daily Variety review stated that the film was being shown in the United States in art houses. According to a February 19, 1958 Variety, despite good notices, D. P. Quish of Limerick County Council, who was unanimously supported by other council members, called the film "a vile production and a travesty of the Irish people." Although he urged the Justice Minister in Ireland to contact the governments of all countries where the picture was distributed to have the film withdrawn, the article predicted that no official government action was likely to be taken and, according to modern sources, none was.
Voted One of the Year's Ten Best Films by the 1957 National Board of Review.
Released in United States 1957
Film has three parts: Part 1-"The Majesty Of The Law" Part 2-"A Minute's Wait" Part 3-"1921".
Released in United States 1957