Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tonight's Movie: Captain Boycott (1947)

Stewart Granger heads an excellent cast in CAPTAIN BOYCOTT, the story of a unique Irish rebellion which added a new word to the English language.

Captain Boycott (Cecil Parker), a landlord in Ireland, evicts poor Irish tenants who cannot pay their full rent due to poor crops. Hugh Davin (Granger), inspired by a speech by Charles Stewart Parnell (Robert Donat, in a cameo), convinces all the local townspeople to completely shun Boycott. No one will work in his home, harvest his crops, or sell him goods. Eventually Boycott is forced to leave the country.

Alastair Sim plays the village priest who supports the idea of a peaceful protest against the landlord. Mervyn Johns (father of Glynis) plays Boycott's agent and lone ally. With a cast like this, it should be a good film, and it is -- a solidly made, entertaining action film, with a touch of romance for good measure. The romance is between Hugh (Granger) and Anne (Kathleen Ryan), a girl whose desperate father makes the mistake of moving into a cottage whose previous tenants were evicted by Boycott.

In 1947 Bosley Crowther of the New York Times termed the film an "amusing, exciting and rather boldly rousing story," going on to say "With the added virtues of beautiful vistas across the Irish countryside, a sensitive score and the pace of a Western in the outdoor action scenes, the Messrs. Gilliat and Launder have given us a picture which should thrill, amuse — and counsel well."

CAPTAIN BOYCOTT was produced by the team of Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat. Launder directed and also cowrote the screenplay.

This film was shot in black and white and runs 92 minutes.

CAPTAIN BOYCOTT has been shown in the past on Turner Classic Movies. It's not available on DVD or VHS in the United States, but is available on Region 2 DVD as part of the 12-film Stewart Granger Collection. The Region 2 print is quite good.

Other films in the Stewart Granger Collection which have been reviewed to date: LOVE STORY (1944), WATERLOO ROAD (1945), WOMAN HATER (1948), and ADAM AND EVELYNE (1949).


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