The Informer (1935 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Ford|
|Produced by||John Ford|
|Written by||Dudley Nichols|
|Music by||Max Steiner|
|Cinematography||Joseph H. August|
|Editing by||George Hively|
|Studio||RKO Radio Pictures|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
|Running time||91 minutes|
The Informer is a 1935 dramatic film, released by RKO. The plot concerns the underside of the Irish War of Independence, set in 1922. It stars Victor McLaglen, Heather Angel, Preston Foster, Margot Grahame, Wallace Ford, Una O'Connor and J. M. Kerrigan. The screenplay was written by Dudley Nichols from the novel The Informer by Liam O'Flaherty. It was directed by John Ford. The novel had previously been adapted for a British film The Informer (1929).
In 1922 Dublin, Gypo Nolan (Victor McLaglen) has been kicked out of the outlaw Irish Republican Army (IRA) for not executing a Black and Tan who killed an IRA man. He becomes angry when he sees his streetwalker girlfriend Katie Madden (Margot Grahame) trying to pick up a customer. After he throws the man into the street, Katie laments that she does not have £10 for passage to America to start afresh.
Gypo later runs into his friend and IRA comrade Frankie McPhillip (Wallace Ford), a fugitive with a £20 bounty on his head. Frankie, tired of hiding for six months, is on his way home to visit his mother (Una O'Connor) and sister (Heather Angel) under cover of the foggy night. The slow-witted Gypo decides to turn informer. When the Black and Tans come for him, Frankie is killed in the ensuing gunfight. The British contemptuously give Gypo his blood money and let him go.
Gypo subsequently buys a bottle of whiskey and confides in Katie that he obtained money by beating up a sailor. He then meets with several of his IRA comrades, who wonder who informed on Frankie. Gypo claims it was a man named Mulligan. The others suspect him, but do not have enough evidence as yet. He then goes to an upper-class party and gets drunk, but is taken away by his comrades when they figure out it was him. He is taken to a kangaroo court, where Mulligan is questioned; Gypo then confesses to ratting out Frankie.
Gypo is locked up, but before he can be executed, he escapes through a hole in the ceiling. He runs to Katie's apartment, where he tells her that he informed on Frankie. Katie goes to see Dan Gallagher to beg him to leave Gypo alone. However, other IRA members go to the apartment and shoot Gypo. Gypo wanders into a church where Frankie's mother is praying and begs forgiveness. She does forgive him, and Gypo dies on the floor of the church.
- Victor McLaglen - "Gypo" Nolan
- Heather Angel - Mary McPhillip
- Preston Foster - Dan Gallagher
- Margot Grahame - Katie Madden
- Wallace Ford - Frankie McPhillip
- Una O'Connor - Mrs McPhillip
- J. M. Kerrigan - Terry
- Joe Sawyer - Bartly Mulholland (credited as Joseph Sauers)
- Neil Fitzgerald - Tommy Connor
- Donald Meek - Peter Mulligan
- D'Arcy Corrigan - The Blind Man
- Leo McCabe - Donahue
- Steve Pendleton - Dennis Daly (credited as Gaylord Pendleton)
- Francis Ford - "Judge" Flynn
- May Boley - Madame Betty
The film was popular at the box office and earned a profit of $325,000.1
The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning four. McLaglen won Best Actor for his portrayal of Gypo Nolan, beating out Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, and Franchot Tone for the better-remembered Mutiny on the Bounty, and Ford won Best Director. Dudley Nichols won Best Writing, Screenplay, but turned it down because of union disagreements. It was the first time an Oscar was declined.2 The film also won the Oscar for Best Score; Max Steiner won for the first time. The film was nominated for Outstanding Production,3 as well as for Best Film Editing.
|Outstanding Production||Nominated||RKO Radio (John Ford, Producer)
Winner was Mutiny on the Bounty (MGM) (Irving Thalberg and Albert Lewin, Producers)
|Best Director||Won||John Ford|
|Best Actor||Won||Victor McLaglen|
|Best Writing, Screenplay||Won||Dudley Nichols|
|Best Film Editing||Nominated||George Hively
Winner was Ralph Dawson – A Midsummer Night's Dream
|Best Music (Scoring)||Won||Max Steiner|
The film's other awards and nominations:
- National Board of Review - Best Picture
- New York Film Critics Circle Awards - Best Film and Best Director
- Venice Film Festival - John Ford nominated for the Mussolini Cup
The Informer was adapted as a radio play on the July 10, 1944, and October 17, 1950, episodes of The Screen Guild Theater, the March 28, 1948, episode of the Ford Theatre. On the Academy Award Theater's May 25, 1946, episode, McLaglen reprised his role.
A presentation copy of the script, originally presented to a Seymour Roman and signed by many of the prominent cast and crew, was ostensibly found in Madison, Wisconsin, among items being cleaned out of an apartment by a landlord. It was brought to the Antiques Roadshow and was appraised for $4,000–$5,000.citation needed
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