In 1911 Ireland, a young labourer (Rod Taylor) has ambitions of being a writer. But poverty, working to overthrow the British invaders and romance slow his progress. Based on the life of the great Irish playwright Sean O'Casey, inexplicably called Johnny Cassidy in the film, and began by John Ford (though very little of his work is in the final film) and completed by Jack Cardiff. The film opens with "A John Ford Production" however and it has the feel of a Ford film, particularly in the propensity for Irish brawls but Cardiff brings his own sensibility to the film also which has the same empathy for Irish poor that he brought to the Welsh miners in his film of SONS AND LOVERS. Still, O'Casey's life, at least as portrayed here, simply wasn't interesting enough to sustain much interest for a feature film and despite a rousing performance by Taylor, the film follows the usual path of movie bios: poverty, struggle, success, fame, fade out. There is a compelling riot scene where the British overcome the Irish rebels by brute force. The suitably drab photography is by Edward Scaife (THE DIRTY DOZEN) and the authentically Irish score by Sean O'Riada. With Maggie Smith, Julie Christie, Michael Redgrave, Edith Evans, Flora Robson, Sian Phillips and Jack MacGowran.
The Spanish DVD from Regasa is an anamorphic wide screen (1.78) transfer that lacks sharpness but otherwise is an adequate transfer. The Spanish subtitles are easily removed.