|YOUNG CASSIDY (director: Jack Cardiff; screenwriter: John Whiting/based on the autobiography "Mirror in my House" by Sean O'Casey; cinematographer: Ted Scaife; editor: Anne V. Coates; music: Sean O'Riada; cast: Rod Taylor (John Cassidy), Flora Robson (Mrs. Cassidy), Maggie Smith (Nora), Julie Christie (Daisy Battles), Edith Evans (Lady Gregory), Michael Redgrave (W.B. Yeats), Sian Phillips (Ella), Pauline Delany (Bessie Ballynoy); Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Robert Emmett Ginna/Robert D. Graff; MGM/Warner Archive Collection; 1965)|
by Dennis Schwartz
director Jack Cardiff ("Sons and
Lovers"/"My Geisha") took over the directing chores
when John Ford left because of an illness. This is an
intelligent biopic on some 12 years on the life of
Irish playwright Sean O'Casey. It's based on
the massive 13-volume 1956 autobiography of O'Casey
entitled "Mirror in my House." It's written by John
John Cassidy (Rod Taylor) is a laborer by day and
a pamphleteer by night in the Dublin of 1911. Cassidy
supports his poor mom (Flora Robson) and
ailing sister (Sian Phillips).
eventually turns from openly fighting the British to
writing political pamphlets against them, though it's
never made clear what he's fighting for. He
has sexual encounters with Julie Christie's
chorus girl Daisy he met in a riot caused by one of
his pamphlets. He leaves her to begin an affair with
the prudish small bookshop owner Maggie Smith.
Cassidy's play "The Plough and the
Stars" is produced at the Abbey Theatre, a riot
erupts in the audience. Later reviews claim it as a
film ends with Cassidy leaving home for England
amidst international recognition.
The performances of the Aussie Taylor and Christie are quite good and Cardiff did a decent directorial turn, and even though the biopic was flawed for lacking focus it's still a film of merit.
REVIEWED ON 3/18/2017 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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