From modern independent Irish gems to classic Hollywood’s portrayal of Ireland, Olive Films has plenty to fulfill your St. Patrick’s Day movie needs. We hope you’ll use the holiday this year as an opportunity to revisit old classics as well as discover some new favorites.
Parked gives a heartwarming yet unflinching view of Dublin during the recession. It was filmed on location there, and the film lets the city takes on a life of its own. A victim of the economic downturn, Fred Daly (Colm Meaney, TV’s Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) lives a quiet, isolated life in his parked car. His situation improves after he forms an unlikely friendship with Cathal (Colin Morgan, TV’s Merlin), a weed-smoking free spirit with a positive attitude. Sharing laughs and hard times, the two men rediscover the simple pleasure of life. One day at the community swimming pool, Fred meets Jules (Milka Ahiroth), an attractive music teacher who lives nearby, and sparks fly. Director Darragh Byrne makes his feature film directorial debut in this beautiful and heartwarming dark comedy.
Parked is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
THE QUIET MAN (1952)
This next one might be more Hollywood product than Irish, but it’s an all-time favorite for many Irish-American families to watch for St. Patrick’s Day. Set in the fictional town “Inisfree,” most of The Quiet Man was shot in and around Cong, Co Mayo. The film continues to be a driving force of tourism in the town to this day.
Sean Thornton (John Wayne, Sands of Iwo Jima), an American boxer with a tragic past, returns to the Irish town of his youth. There, he purchases his childhood home and falls in love with the fiery local cailín, Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara, Rio Grande). But Kate’s insistence that Sean conduct his courtship in a proper Irish manner with matchmaker Michaleen Oge Flynn (Barry Fitzgerald, Going My Way) along for the ride as chaperone is but one obstacle to their future together; the other is her brother, “Red” Danaher (Victor McLaglen, Rio Grande), who spitefully refuses to give his consent to their marriage, or to honor the tradition of paying a dowry to the husband. Sean couldn’t care less about dowries or any other tradition that might stand in the way of his happiness. But when Mary Kate accuses him of being a coward, Sean is finally ready to take matters into his own hands.
The Quiet Man is available in an Olive Signature edition on DVD and Blu-ray.
JOHN FORD: DREAMING THE QUIET MAN (2010)
Director John Ford’s parents came from Ireland (his father from An Spidéal in the Connemara region of Co. Galway, his mother from Inis Mór off the coast of Co. Galway), and his heritage can be seen in many of his films, but perhaps never quite as famously as in The Quiet Man. In the emotional and entertaining documentary John Ford: Dreaming The Quiet Man, director Sé Merry Doyle explores the tenacity of director John Ford and his twenty-year struggle to bring the classic film The Quiet Man to the screen. Doyle’s documentary features interviews with film notables including leading lady Maureen O’Hara and directors Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich and Jim Sheridan, who share the indelible impact that the film has had on their lives and how it influenced their careers. This revealing behind-the-scenes look at the making of Ford’s classic is highlighted with rare and never-before-seen home movies documenting the cast and crew’s time filming in Ireland. Narrated by Gabriel Byrne, John Ford: Dreaming The Quiet Man provides viewers with a unique glimpse inside the making of a time-tested classic.
John Ford: Dreaming the Quiet Man is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
MY BROTHERS (2010)
The adorable and charming My Brothers takes us to Co. Cork. My Brothers is the 2010 directorial debut of Paul Fraser. Set over Halloween weekend of 1987, it tells the story of replacing a dying father’s watch and the quest taken to accomplish that by three young brothers: Noel (Timmy Creed), 17, serious, weighed down by responsibility; Paudie (Paul Courtney), 11, cocky, not too bright, with dreams of playing for Liverpool; and Scwally (TJ Griffin), 7, naive, and obsessed with Star Wars. Using a battered bread van, the brothers embark on a journey across the wild Munster landscape, grinding gears and screaming at each other to get to an arcade machine in Ballybunion, Co. Kerry. Along the way, they are detoured by escalating brotherly battles in an offbeat and moving journey that can only lead them home. Kate Ashfield (Shaun of the Dead) and Don Wycherly (Shrooms) also star.
My Brothers is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
THE OUTSIDER (1980)
The story of a disillusioned American Vietnam veteran (Craig Wasson) who goes to fight for the I.R.A. only to discover he’s their pawn, The Outsider received praise for its depiction of the moral murkiness of the Troubles. By all accounts, it is a war film with no heroism, glory, or ideals. Moreover, residents of Belfast frequently identify the movie’s portrayal of 1973 working class Belfast as one of the most realistic in cinema.
The Outsider became the subject of controversy at its release due to its depiction of a British officer torturing an Irish prisoner. The film proved so controversial, in fact, that it was actually dropped from the 1979 London Film Festival. Writer & director Tony Luraschi elicits powerful performances from Wasson and a cast that includes Sterling Hayden (1900) and esteemed Irish character actors Patricia Quinn (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Ray McAnally (My Left Foot) and Gabriel Byrne (The End of Violence).
The Outsider is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
NOTHING PERSONAL (2009)
Filmed in the hills of Connemara, Nothing Personal makes great use of its setting. Urszula Antoniak’s stunningly assured debut is touching, gentle, and playful. An enigmatic beauty (Lotte Verbeek, The Fault in our Stars) drifts from town to town, hitching rides through the Irish countryside. She comes across an isolated cabin and strikes up an uneasy relationship with its owner (Stephen Rea, The Crying Game). Haunted by their pasts, each has something to offer the other: the solace of his cabin and her welcome companionship. This beautiful film is the winner of 6 Locarno Film Festival Awards, including Best First Film and Best Actress.
Nothing Personal is available on DVD.
This one is another product of Hollywood, but it was inspired by and sticks relatively close to a very real piece of Irish history. Based on a custody case brought before the Irish courts in 1955, Evelyn stars Pierce Brosnan (GoldenEye) as Desmond Doyle, a father fighting for the custody of his three children after abandonment by their mother. Due to the Irish law of the time, children could not be raised by one parent in what the courts considered “a broken home,” thus allowing the Doyle children to be placed in church-run orphanages, where neglect and cruelty were not out of the ordinary. Desmond, with the help of the kindly chemist and love interest (Julianna Margulies, TV’s The Good Wife), a local solicitor (Stephen Rea, The Crying Game), and two tough-as-nails lawyers (Alan Bates, Nijinsky; Aidan Quinn, Legends of the Fall), will take his fight to the highest courts to win their freedom. Rounding out the cast of talented actors is Sophie Vavasseur (Becoming Jane) as Evelyn, the little girl who won the hearts of a nation. Evelyn is directed by Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy) from a screenplay written by Paul Pender (The Bogie Man).
Evelyn is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
March 7, 2017