Between all the drinking, and celebrating, and parading, some might want to watch an old classic movie on St. Paddy’s Day. What’s recommended?
Well, your classic movie guys, Joe Morella and Frank Segers, have pondered the question, and although there are a dozen or so films which might fit the bill, Joe has decided there are only three which are truly classics and worthy of attention.
Darby O’Gill and The Little People. This Disney gem from 1959 stars Sean Connery, Janet Munro, Albert Sharpe (as Darby) and Jimmy O’Dea as the king of the leprechauns. If you’re into a bit of fantasy on the day of the Green, this one’s for you.
For a more recent film there’s 1989’s My Left Foot about the Irish writer and artist, Christy Brown, who had cerebral palsy and could only use his left foot. It’s a touching story with Oscar winning performances by Daniel Day-Lewis as Brown and Brenda Flicker as his mother. The solid cast includes Hugh O’Conor, Fiona Shaw and Cyril Cusack.
And for those who’d like a more traditional view of Ireland as it was remembered by Irish immigrants and their descendants through most of the last half of the 20th century, there’s the truly classic film, The Quiet Man, the emerald beauty from director John Ford.
It’s set in a timeless era in an Ireland of memory rather than fact. It has all the charm and warmth that modern day romantic comedies lack. It stars John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Victor McLaglen and Barry Fitzgerald. They are supported by a group of Players from The Irish Theatre.
It was filmed on location by Ford, and released by Republic Studios in 1952. It was nominated as one of the best films of the year. The ONLY best-picture nomination Republic ever received. It is still a delight, 60 years later.
And speaking of Barry Fitzgerald, Frank is pretty much a sucker for every movie the guy made. Fitzgerald brought a touch of the old sod — he was born in Dublin in 1888 — to every role he played.
Check him out in director Leo McCarey’s 1944 charmer Going My Way with Bing Crosby. They portray a couple Catholic clerics. Crosby plays ‘Father Chuck O’Malley’ while Fitzgerald is ‘Father Fitzgibbon.’ How Irish can you get?
Fitzgerald even brought Irish whimsy to film noir. In director Jules Dassin’s 1948 thriller, The Naked City, he plays a tough New York City cop (‘Detective Lieutenant Dan Muldoon’) who smiles a lot but unmistakably means serious business.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone.