The Informer

Screening on Film
Directed by John Ford.
With Victor McLaglen, Heather Angel, Preston Foster.
US, 1935, 35mm, black & white, 91 min.
Print source: UCLA

Ford’s rising star in the mid-1930s—due largely to the success of his films starring Will Rogers—allowed him to convince RKO that he should adapt Liam O’Flaherty’s novel of the moral and social cost of the 1922-23 Irish Civil War, allegorized by an impoverished Dubliner’s cruel betrayal of his best friend. RKO gave Ford a medium-sized budget and a relative freedom hitherto unknown to him. The studio’s initial dismay at the unconventional results was calmed when the critics began to universally praise the film for its serious subject matter and stylistic audacity. The apotheosis of Ford’s expressionist style, The Informer has become a controversial point among Ford scholars and fans—while some miss the relaxed lyricism of later Ford and find the Huit clos universe of the film overly mechanistic, many admire the film’s uncompromising look at a fallen world where only compromise and defeat are possible.

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Classic Ford.
A John Ford Retrospective, Part I

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John Ford:
A Major Retrospective

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