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The Rising of the Moon

The Rising of the Moon(1957)


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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.