This Easter RTÉ celebrates Ireland at the Movies with a series of documentaries, films and performances that highlight the central role that the cinema plays in Irish life. This new initiative celebrates the influence of Ireland on Hollywood and the big screen - Bringing you some of the best acclaimed Irish films and special events by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.
Ireland at the Movies will see a selection of Irish film documentaries and Irish films broadcast on RTÉ One television including the, specially commissioned Hell's Kitchen to Hollywood presented by John Kelly and the feature length See You At The Pictures exploring movie-going in Ireland throughout the decades, along with highly-regarded film favourites such as The Field, Song for a Raggy Boy and My Left Foot. This collection of films showcases some of Ireland's most talented actors, writers, directors and film makers.
As a curtain-raiser to the week, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra honours one of the greatest film composers of our age. John Williams, winner of five Academy awards, four Golden Globes and 21 Grammy Awards, has created some of the most stirring scores of the past 40 years. This evening, the RTÉ CO celebrates this master with music going all the way back to the John Wayne 1972 film The Cowboys, coming right up to date with Lincoln, with memorable themes along the way from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, Schindler's List and many more. Click here for more information...
The legendary Irish-American director John Ford was one of the most influential voices in the history of Hollywood filmmaking. The Searchers is a 1956 American Western film directed by John Ford and set during the Texas Indian Wars. The film stars John Wayne as a middle-aged civil war veteran who spends years looking for his abducted niece (Natalie Wood) accompanied by his adoptive nephew (Jeffry Hunter).
See You at the Pictures is a brand new feature length documentary which looks at movie-going in Ireland throughout the decades. Exploiting a treasure chest of hitherto undocumented or privately documented stories and adventures that have been stored inside heads or scribbled in yellowing notebooks and diaries across the country, the film examines specific periods of Irish history as related, through the prism of cinema, by ordinary and less ordinary people who lived and are living through them. Their testimony guides us through the years, providing insight, historical knowledge, funny anecdotes, local colour, and other comic or perhaps even tragic stories. Out of this emerges a truly nationally-shared experience of cinema-going as important to our common heritage as any of the other components of our culture. Click here for more information...
Another chance to see exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and a look into the world of Ryan's Daughter. Ryan's Daughter transformed Dingle and its hinterland, and in the years since its original cinema release it is the behind-the-scenes story that transformed itself into the stuff of legend. David Lean may have arrived in Kerry with the expectation that he and his cast - a stellar gathering that included Robert Mitchum, Sarah Miles and John Mills - were to be the stars of his latest masterpiece. It wasn't long however before both the director and his troupe realised that the real star was West Kerry itself. And bit players, by-standers and eager observers were the locals. Panned by critics on its initial release, the film won two Oscars, one for acting, one for cinematography and, in recent years, revisionists have looked again at one of modern cinemas most misunderstood and under-rated films. This documentary goes behind-the-scenes to explore the real story behind the making of Ryan's Daughter, observing a community in subsistence living counterpointed against a glamourous film-maker and his legendary stars. Featuring footage from RTÉ's own archive as well as from the UCLA Etnographic Program, the documentary talks to those who had ring-side seats at the biggest show in town. Long after the village came down, the legend lives on .
Directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Richard Harris as the Bull McCabe in the academy award nominated film production of John B.Keane's classic play.
Martin Sheen stars. A small town cinema in rural Ireland becomes the setting for a dramatic struggle between faith and passion, Rome and Hollywood and a man and his conscience.
Hell's Kitchen to Hollywood tells the story of the Irish-American men and women who shaped American cinema and helped change the fortunes of an entire people. Mixing travelogue with biography and interview, John Kelly journeys around the States to discover how the Irish in the movies created archetypes that shaped America's image of itself and how their legacy informs distinctive screen drama that still captivate global audiences.
While the story of the Irish in America is well-known, there is another fascinating side to the tale, of how their imagination and creativity left its indelible mark. In the streets of New York, the neighbourhoods of Boston and the canyons of Monument Valley, John uncovers how actors and directors such as James Cagney, John Ford, Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby helped create the iconic screen characters of the cop and the hoodlum, the priest and the cowboy. In conversation with leading American writers and commentators, John hears how these Hollywood greats changed how the Irish were seen in the US, placing them at the very heart of US life. And he finds out how this legacy has shaped Irish-American identity ever since.
John retraces the experience of the first Irish immigrants in the tenements of Hell's Kitchen, where they lived amid appalling poverty and prejudice. But Irish performers also found an early outlet for their talents, in the raucous theatres of Vaudeville which laid the foundations for their pioneering forays into silent movies. As Hollywood entered its golden era, stars like Cagney, Crosby and Spencer Tracy became household names. And at a time when the Irish were not yet fully accepted into American life, they did so by playing such distinctive Irish characters as policemen, gangsters and priests, in movies from The Public Enemy to Going My Way.
Behind the camera, John Ford forged the iconic vision of the west in films such as the Cavalry trilogy, while underscoring the patriotism of Irish-Americans and bringing a distinctively Irish flavour to his movies. And as post-war America enjoyed unprecedented prosperity, the rise of glamorous stars like Grace Kelly and Gene Kelly mirrored the increasing assimilation of the Irish into suburbanised US society. All told, they created the climate for the election of the first Irish Catholic president of the United States, John F Kennedy.
Talking to acclaimed novelist Dennis Lehane and renowned journalist Pete Hamill among others, John hears how the achievement of these stars not only affected the lives of people at the time but also continues to inform the self-image of Irish-Americans to this day. In telling this epic and surprising story, John reveals how the Irish in America were transformed from despised outcasts to role models and icons.
In advance of its broadcast on RTE Television, Peter Murphy interviews Tony Tracy, producer of the documentary, Blazing The Trail: the O'Kalems in Ireland, about the New York-based Kalem Film Company who sent director Sidney Olcott and screenwriter/actress Gene Gauntier to make films in Co. Kerry in the 1910s. Click here to visit The Works website...
John Huston: An American in Galway is an affectionate portrait of Huston's Irish years seen through the eyes of locals who crossed his path: from Lord Hemphill who rode to the hounds with John, Hon. Garech Browne whose mother introduced John to the country, to the Youghal men on the quays who watched the making of Moby Dick, to Kate O'Toole, (a family friend) and Ingrid Craigie who both acted in The Dead-as well as Huston's two daughters who made their home at St. Cleran's: Allegra and Anjelica Huston.
This movie follows a day in the life of 2 Dublin Heroin addicts, Adam and Paul. Adam is the taller and slightly smarter of the two while Paul is his sidekick. Since they were small boys, Adam and Paul have withered into two hopeless, desperate Dublin junkies, tied together by habit and necessity. A stylized, downbeat comedy, the film follows the pair through a single day, which, like every other, is entirely devoted to the business of scrounging and robbing money for drugs.
Double Oscar winning film My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown is a 1989 film directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Daniel Day Lewis. It tells the true story of Christy Brown, born with cerebral palsy, who could control only his left foot. Christy Brown grew up in a poor, working-class family, and became a writer and artist. The film was well-received by critics and audiences alike. Day-Lewis was praised for his portrayal of Brown, which earned him his first Academy Award for Best Actor. Brenda Fricker also won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Starring Aidan Quinn and directed by Aishling Walsh, Song for a Raggy Boy is based on the true story of a single teacher's courage to stand up against an untouchable prefect's sadistic disciplinary regime and other abuse in a Catholic Reformatory and Industrial School in 1939 Ireland.
Documentary about the earliest images of Ireland in fiction films and the pioneering American filmmakers who made them
BLAZING THE TRAIL traces the story and successes of "the O'Kalems"- Sidney Olcott and Gene Gauntier of the New York-based Kalem Film Company-who made close to 30 films in Ireland in the early 1910s. Combining a wide range of contemporary and archive footage, music from the period and interviews with experts in film history, the film was written/directed by Peter Flynn and produced by Tony Tracy for BIFF Productions.
ABOUT BLAZING THE TRAIL
In 1910, the New York based Kalem Film Company made history by sending its leading filmmakers-director Sidney Olcott and screenwriter and lead actress Gene Gauntier-across the Atlantic to Ireland. En route and on location in Cork and Kerry, Olcott and Gauntier made the landmark The Lad from Old Ireland; a film that not only radically altered popular images of the Irish (rendering them as characters instead of charicatures), but was also the first fiction film made in Ireland and the first American film made outside of America. The film was an immediate hit and Olcott and Gauntier returned - making the village of Beaufort, near Killarney, their base every summer for several years. During this time they produced a series of films -rebel dramas, folk romances, tales of exile and emigration-that were celebrated for their authentic Irish settings and themes. These films offer an unrivaled cinematic portrait of Ireland in the years before independence and a unique insight into film practices before the arrival of Hollywood. But they were also instrumental in redefining popular representations of the Irish and, in so doing, ensured they would continue to occupy an important place in American cinema.
BLAZING THE TRAIL tells the story of Olcott and Gauntier's adventures in Ireland: it recounts how they made films without electricity, using locals as actors; how they provoked the condemnation of a local priest and ran afoul of the British authorities. It tells the story of two of the cinema's earliest mavericks, of the people and culture they immortalized on film-and of the Hollywood system that ultimately eclipsed them.
PRAISE FOR BLAZING THE TRAIL:
"Blazing the Trail is a delightful piece of work, filled with the same romantic spirit that informed the Kalem Films in the first place." Luke McKernan, Lead Curator, Moving Image, British Library.
"A first-rate documentary . . . making inventive use of surviving footage and other visuals." Jordan Young, LA Examiner
An Irish first and a real cinematic treat: a screening of Singin' in the Rain with live performance of the orchestral score, introduced by the wife of the late Gene Kelly, Patricia Ward Kelly. This 1952 classic American musical comedy is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. Now Irish audiences have the chance to watch this legendary film on the big screen, with the original vocals and dialogue intact, while the RTÉ CO plays the orchestral score underneath. Introducing these two very special screenings, a matinee and an evening performance, Patricia Ward Kelly will offer illuminating and entertaining insights into the making of one of the world's best-loved musicals. Click here for more information...
In conjunction with the Ireland at the Movies season, 2FM's Rick O'Shea in the afternoon will be giving three lucky listeners a chance to win a fabulous prize and have the Cinemobile come to their home town, street or village. We all love going to the cinema but here's a chance to have the cinema come to you with the Cinemobile, a magnificent, state-of-the-art mobile cinema. Listen to Rick O'Shea in the afternoon for details to hear how you could be bringing 50 of your family and friends to your own private screening. www.rte.ie/2fm/rick-oshea-in-the-afternoon/