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USA 1935
Directed by
John Ford
91 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Informer

Ford regular, Victor McLaglen picked up an Oscar (in a role the original British version of which had starred his brother Cyril) for his portrayal of Gypo Nolan, an impoverished simple-minded lug who gives up his IRA friend to the Black and Tans in order to keep his girl from walking the streets.

Based on a novel by Liam O'Flaherty, Irish-born Ford (birth name Sean O'Feeney) gives as sympathetic a portrait of the IRA as Carol Reed's Odd Man Out (1947), with an impressive directorial style that suggests the influence of German Expressionism. The adapted screenplay by Dudley Nichols, another Ford regular, also picked up an Oscar although here one can argue that the Academy demonstrated its characteristic penchant for sentimentalism and manipulative moral simplicity (McLagen's character offers a sure-fire point of identification for an America not long-out of the Depression whilst the film offers an equally reassuring redemptive closure).

With a low budget of $US 250,000, reportedly, Ford gave up his salary for the film to help ensure its production.Initially a box office failure, it made millions when reissued after winning its Academy Awards including film Best Director and Best Score (by Max Steiner) Oscars.




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