The Informer (1935)

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    Information from IMDb

    Plot Summary
    Dublin, 1922. Gypo Nolan, strong but none too bright,
    has been ousted from the rebel organization and is starving.
    When he finds that his equally destitute sweetheart Katie
    has been reduced to prostitution, he succumbs to temptation
    and betrays his former comrade Frankie to the British authorities
    for a 20 pound reward. In the course of one gloomy, foggy night,
    guilt and retribution inexorably close in.
    Written by Rod Crawford

    Full Cast
    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 (as Joseph Sauers)
    Neil Fitzgerald ... Tommy Connor
    Donald Meek ... Peter Mulligan
    D'Arcy Corrigan ... The Blind Man
    Leo McCabe ... Donahue
    Steve Pendleton ... Dennis Daly (as Gaylord Pendleton)
    Francis Ford ... "Judge" Flynn
    May Boley ... Madame Betty
    Grizelda Harvey ... English Girl
    Denis O'Dea ... Street Singer (as Dennis O'Dea)
    Barlowe Borland ... Man (uncredited)
    Eddy Chandler ... House Patron (uncredited)
    Clyde Cook ... Flash Patron (uncredited)
    Earle Foxe ... British Officer (uncredited)
    Frank Hagney ... Policeman (uncredited)
    Sam Harris ... British Officer (uncredited)
    Robert Homans ... Detractor (uncredited)
    Cornelius Keefe ... House Patron (uncredited)
    Frank Marlowe ... Admirer (uncredited)
    Arthur McLaglen ... Man (uncredited)
    Frank Moran ... McCabe - Bouncer (uncredited)
    Pat Moriarity ... Admirer (uncredited)
    Jack Mulhall ... Man at Wake (uncredited)
    James Murray ... Bit (uncredited)
    Anne O'Neal ... Singer (uncredited)
    Robert Parrish ... Young Soldier (uncredited)
    Bob Perry ... Bartender (uncredited)
    Pat Somerset ... British Officer (uncredited)
    Harry Tenbrook ... Admirer (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Dudley Nichols (screenplay)
    Liam O'Flaherty (story)

    Original Music
    Max Steiner

    Joseph H. August

    The day before shooting Gypo Nolan's trial scene, John Ford told Victor McLaglen that he wouldn't be needed the next day so he should take a break, enjoy himself, and not worry about his lines. McLaglen proceeded to go out drinking - which Ford knew he would do - and the next day was forced to film the scene with a terrible hangover, which was just the effect Ford wanted.

    Is the first film and only film to win the New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Picture by a unanimous vote on the first ballot.
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    The premiere took place aboard the French transatlantic liner "Normandie".
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    This was the first of RKO's three-picture deal with director John Ford and despite its deserved reputation and multiple Oscars, it was a low budget production. Its production costs came to a mere $243,000.

    John Ford was concerned that the scene where drunken "King" Gypo goes into the brothel for Katie would not pass censors. The studio came up with the idea to "put the cats in hats"--that is, have all the prostitutes wear hats indoors, thus dissuading the censorship board from thinking they were prostitutes.

    A number of references suggest the possibility that Ward Bond appears in a bit part in this film, and it has also been rumored that J. Farrell MacDonald does so as well. However, frame-by-frame analysis of the film indicates that neither appears in the film in any capacity, and indeed, both were rather more substantially well known at the time than a passing bit role would suggest as likely, even for their friend John Ford. In one scene, in the fish-and-chips shop, an extra appears who has a slight resemblance to Bond, but it is definitely not he. And J. Farrell MacDonald's name might well have been mistaken for J.M. Kerrigan, who does indeed have a substantial role. Kerrigan, though, is already billed in the credits. Bond and MacDonald are not in The Informer.

    Dudley Nichols became the first person to decline an Oscar, turning it down because of Union disagreements. Academy records indicate that Nichols had taken possession of his Oscar by 1949.

    A presentation copy of the script was recently found on a garbage pile in Madison, Wisconsin. It was brought on to the show "Antiques Roadshow" where it was appraised for about $4000.

    RKO was highly dubious about the project, given the depressing subject matter and the pathetic lead character. However, following the success of John Ford's The Lost Patrol, the studio agreed to stump up the budget for the film, provided it didn't cost any more than $250,000. Ford had to forgo his own salary to ensure that the film met that budget restriction. The film came in at $243,000.

    Initially a box office failure, the film made millions when it was re-released after its multiple wins at the Academy Awards.

    Another reason why RKO was reluctant to make the film was because a version of the story had already been filmed in the UK in 1929.

    John Ford kept Victor McLaglen continually off-balance (and thus in character) by getting him drunk, changing his schedules, verbally abusing him on and off the set and filming scenes when he'd told McLaglen that they were only rehearsing. For the crucial rebel court scene, the story goes that Ford reduced the actor to a trembling wreck by promising him the day off only to bring him into the studio early and extremely hung over, insisting that he spit out his lines. McLaglen was so furious with Ford over this that he threatened to quit acting and kill the director.

    John Ford had been highly impressed by F.W. Murnau's Sunrise and wanted to bring an element of German Expressionism to this film.

    In later years, in interviews with fellow director Peter Bogdanovich, John Ford conceded that he felt that this film lacked humor.

    Dudley Nichols wrote the script in six days.

    Shot in 17 days.

    Director Samuel Fuller's favorite film.

    "The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on July 10, 1944 with Wallace Ford reprising his film role.

    "Academy Award Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on May 25, 1946 with Victor McLaglen reprising his film role.

    Character error
    The surname Gallagher is pronounced "Galligger" by characters, however, in Ireland the name is always pronounced "Gallaher."

    Incorrectly regarded as goofs
    Frankie McPhillip tells his mother he travelled to her house via O'Connell Street. In 1922, the year the movie is set, O'Connell Street was still offically called Sackville Street, but the Irish Home Rule Party had unsuccessfully attempted to change it to "O'Connell Street" prior to this and this name was commonly used by nationalist Dubliners.

    Memorable Quotes

    Watch the Trailer



    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited once, last by ethanedwards ().

  • 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.
    The novel had previously been adapted for a British film The Informer (1929).

    User Review


    Masterpiece; one of John Ford's best films
    26 June 2002 | by zetes (Saint Paul, MN)

    Gypo Nolan (Victor McLaglen) is as poor as anyone on Earth. Living in 1920s Ireland, Gypo and his fellow Irishmen are part of an underground rebellion against the oppressive Brits. One particular rebel, wanted for murder by the English, arrives back into town secretly. He thinks he can trust his friend Gypo, but the £20 reward proves too tempting. Gypo gets his friend killed and sinks into a pit of despair and drunkenness. Meanwhile, the other Irish rebels are searching for the informer. Right away, Gypo, with money burning a hole in his pocket, is their main suspect, but they, who are his friends, don't want to believe it. The story of The Informer is simple in its plot, but complex in its moral and emotional issues. It's easily one of John Ford's most emotionally involving films. What Gypo did was wrong, but we can certainly understand his motives. We also understand his sorry character, and there's a lot of sympathy that arises for him. The script is very suspenseful, as well. It's the kind of suspense where we are pretty sure we know how everything will end up, so we have to grit our teeth and bear along with it. The acting is remarkable. Victor McLaglen, who acted in many of Ford's films, probably gave his best performance here (and won an Oscar for it). Every other performer in the film deserves his or her kudos. In addition to an amazing script and acting, The Informer is one of John Ford's most expressionistic films. I love the darker side of Ford. In its mood, as well as in its themes, The Informer reminds me of two of my other favorite Ford films, The Long Voyage Home (1940) and The Fugitive (1948); it's also a bit similar to The Grapes of Wrath (1940) in these respects. 10/10.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited once, last by ethanedwards ().

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