The eponymousCaptain Boycott(1832-1897) was solidly played by Cecil Parker in this absorbing historical drama. The setting is 1800s Ireland, where land agent Parker tells his tenants they must pay their rents or face eviction. Land League leader Charles Stewart Parnell – a memorable cameo by Robert Donat – suggests that, instead of reacting violently, unjustly evicted tenants should ostracise landlords and those willing to take over their farms. Parker and his bailiff Mervyn Johns defy the edict by installing Niall McGinnis and his daughter Kathleen Ryan in an ‘evicted’ farm. Even though the villagers’ leader, farmer Stewart Granger, is in love with Ryan, Parker writes to The Times (where else?) and obtains military protection to get in his harvest.
Ruined by the expense, he admits defeat. And the word ‘boycott’ enters the English language. There is plenty of excellent incident in the well-wrought screenplay and Launder’s direction is fast-paced and to the point, making excellent use of well-chosen Irish locations and Wilkie Cooper’s luminous monochrome cinematography. ‘In the best star role he has had in a long time (he) is the star turn,’ wrote the Daily Mirror of Granger, and highly accomplished performances came from McGinnis, Noel Purcell, Eddie Byrne, Maureen Delaney and Eddie Golden.
UK / 92 minutes / 1947
Writers:Frank Launder, Wolfgang Wilhelm, Paul Vincent Carroll, Patrick Campbell, from Philip Rooney’s novel,
Alastair Sim as Father McKeogh
Cecil Parker as Capt. Charles C. Boycott
Noel Purcell as Daniel McGinty
Mervyn Johns as Watty Connell
Edward Lexy as Sgt. Dempsey
Stewart Granger as Hugh Davin
Niall MacGinnis as Mark Killain
Robert Donat as Charles Stewart Parnell
Phyllis Ryan as Bridget
Kathleen Ryan as Anne Killain
Maureen Delaney as Mrs. Davin
Eddie Byrne as Sean Kerin
Liam Gaffney as Michael Fagan
Liam Redmond as Martin Egan
Bernadette O’Farrell as Mrs. Fagan
Harry Webster as Robert Hogan
Eddie Golden as Harry Piggott
Harry Hutchinson as Shamus Moore
Joe Linnane as Auctioneer
Ian Fleming as Times correspondent
Reginald Purdell as American reporter
Cavan Malone as Billy Killain
John Kelly as Sheriff
Anne Clery as Postmistress
Sheila Carty as Mary Creeg
Norrie Duff as Josie Egan
Harry A. Bailey as Bookmaker
Michael Ripper as Pat Nolan
Maurice Denham as Lt. Col. Strickland
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