Saturday, May 12, 2012

Random Hitchcock: Juno And The Paycock (1930)

Juno And The Paycock, also known as The Shame Of Mary Boyle was adapted from the play by Sean O'Casey by Hitchcock himself.  The story revolves around the moral hazard of striking it rich quick, and not being prudent about the matter.  An Irish family on the struggling end of things in the slums of Dublin, suddenly comes into a large inheritance...or so they believe.  All sorts of melodrama ensues from there, including a proud as a peacock father (hence his nickname "Captain Paycock") who drinks away what little money that they family has, a partially invalid son who got so by being a turncoat member of the IRA (having recently turned in a fellow member to the Irish Free State), a con man out for the attentions of the daughter Mary, who has his way with her and then disappears...and a pregnant, unwed daughter.  All of the melodrama plays out while the Irish Civil War rages on in the background.  This is, I believe, the very first Hitchcock movie to employ any kind narration, with Irish actor Barry Fitzgerald appearing as "the orator."  As an adaptation, the screenplay is very faithful to the original play, except in one regard:  Hitchcock really wanted a scene outside the flat where, as a play, all of the action had to be confined.  He asked the playwright O'Casey for permission to add a pub scene, and O'Casey allowed it.  In all other regards, this movie has a great deal in common with Rope, made almost 20 years later, and confined to a single city flat.

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