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The Irish in Film
An Annotated Database

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A Little Bit O'Irish in Film cont.

Cops. Don't take me there. In the early 20th century almost all policemen on film where stereotyped Irishmen. In The Naked City (1948) three cops pursue a murderer: Det. Lt. Dan Muldoon, Det. Jimmy Halloran, and Capt. Donahue. The mean copper in Lady and the Tramp (1955) has a thick Irish brogue. Even today most movie cops have Irish names.

Dirty Harry (1971) Callahan.
Brannigan (1975) duh!
RoboCop (1987). Murphy. Yes, the robot cop's name is Murphy.
Pride and Glory (2008) Egan, Tierney.

Irish rebels, a particularly large category since the 1980's, has a few surprising earlier entries. Irene (1940) portrays stock Irish rebels, languishing in America, yearning the rejoin the fight back in the Old Country, as fools. In the British film Your Past Is Showing (aka The Naked Truth, 1957) an English showman needs information on how to make a boom so naturally he flies immediately to Ireland. The Irish rebels see through his disguise, but are still, indirectly, used as comic relief.

The Irish immigrant, or more generally the person of Irish descent who fits in pretty well until you get his/her 'Irish up,' has many shining examples in film. Restoration (1995): the crazy Irishwoman left in a family way who even though insane manages to charm the main character into marrying her. (breath) The brooding detective Finch in V for Vendetta (2006) a jolly old chap until his boss goads him with "Your mother was Irish, wasn't she? Terrible what [the virus] did to Ireland, wasn't it." Another similar example: in Captives (1994) a guard defends the new prison dentist from another guard saying: "Blimey, it's not like she's a Mick. You're not, are you?" This film has a seething undercurrent of not-so-pleasant 'Irishness' all the way through it - definitely a British film.

Sometimes Ireland itself plays a bit part. Three films come to mind immediately: Dementia 13 (1963), The Eternal (1998) and Wolfhound (2002). The old ancestral manse is in Ireland perched on an ocean bluff or nestled in a green valley. Once the Americans get inside, however, they may as well be back in Philadelphia. My favorite example is Hellboy II (2008) where Hellboy ends up fighting the final epic battle among the green fields and standing stones of Ireland just for - you know - the hell of it.

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