Tuesday, May 06, 2014


Big multi-generational family saga of two feuding Irish families: the lower-class Donovans and the wealthy Brodricks. Copper John Brodrick starts up a copper mine on land once held by the Donovans, and old Morty Donovan curses them, saying the hill will destroy them. Copper John has four sons, and two of them, Henry and Greyhound John, vie for the affections of the saucy Miss Fanny. When a theft occurs at the mine, the Brodricks accuse the Donovans of being behind it. There follows death, fire and destruction (an especially well-shot scene) and Henry is killed in an explosion. John goes away to become a lawyer, eventually returns  and weds Fanny; they raise the next generation of Brodricks (including Wild Johnnie who is, per his name, wild and ill-mannered) who will continue to clash with the Donovans, though Johnnie becomes smitten with a Donovan girl, young Kate. Copper John dies of typhoid, contracted through a Donovan, and Fanny winds up alone, gambling desperately in London, and winding up with the means to end the long feud. There are some nice setpieces, including the above-mentioned fire at the mine and a rare light-hearted moment involving a fiddle player at a fancy party who takes the guests from a slow stately dance to a wild jig. This is based on a novel by Daphne du Maurier; I have not read it, but I suspect that the movie has to drop a lot of plotlines and move quickly through others because of time constraints. What's left is engrossing enough with some decent acting all around: Cecil Parker as Copper John, Dennis Price as Greyhound John, Dermot Walsh as Wild Johnnie, Michael Denison as Henry, Margaret Lockwood as Fanny, and, in other roles, Jean Simmons, Eileen Herlie, and Siobhan McKenna.  [TCM]

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