DIRECTED BY JOHN FORD
PRODUCED BY JOHN FORD/ CLIFF REID
RKO RADIO PICTURES
Information from IMDb
Dublin, 1922. Gypo Nolan, strong but none too bright,
has been ousted from the rebel organization and is starving.
When he finds that his equally destitute sweetheart Katie
has been reduced to prostitution, he succumbs to temptation
and betrays his former comrade Frankie to the British authorities
for a 20 pound reward. In the course of one gloomy, foggy night,
guilt and retribution inexorably close in.
Written by Rod Crawford
Victor McLaglen ... Gypo Nolan
Heather Angel ... Mary McPhillip
Preston Foster ... Dan Gallagher
Margot Grahame ... Katie Madden
Wallace Ford ... Frankie McPhillip
Una O'Connor ... Mrs. McPhillip
J.M. Kerrigan ... Terry
Joe Sawyer ... Bartly Mulholland (as Joseph Sauers)
Neil Fitzgerald ... Tommy Connor
Donald Meek ... Peter Mulligan
D'Arcy Corrigan ... The Blind Man
Leo McCabe ... Donahue
Steve Pendleton ... Dennis Daly (as Gaylord Pendleton)
Francis Ford ... "Judge" Flynn
May Boley ... Madame Betty
Grizelda Harvey ... English Girl
Denis O'Dea ... Street Singer (as Dennis O'Dea)
Barlowe Borland ... Man (uncredited)
Eddy Chandler ... House Patron (uncredited)
Clyde Cook ... Flash Patron (uncredited)
Earle Foxe ... British Officer (uncredited)
Frank Hagney ... Policeman (uncredited)
Sam Harris ... British Officer (uncredited)
Robert Homans ... Detractor (uncredited)
Cornelius Keefe ... House Patron (uncredited)
Frank Marlowe ... Admirer (uncredited)
Arthur McLaglen ... Man (uncredited)
Frank Moran ... McCabe - Bouncer (uncredited)
Pat Moriarity ... Admirer (uncredited)
Jack Mulhall ... Man at Wake (uncredited)
James Murray ... Bit (uncredited)
Anne O'Neal ... Singer (uncredited)
Robert Parrish ... Young Soldier (uncredited)
Bob Perry ... Bartender (uncredited)
Pat Somerset ... British Officer (uncredited)
Harry Tenbrook ... Admirer (uncredited)
Dudley Nichols (screenplay)
Liam O'Flaherty (story)
Joseph H. August
The day before shooting Gypo Nolan's trial scene, John Ford told Victor McLaglen that he wouldn't be needed the next day so he should take a break, enjoy himself, and not worry about his lines. McLaglen proceeded to go out drinking - which Ford knew he would do - and the next day was forced to film the scene with a terrible hangover, which was just the effect Ford wanted.
Is the first film and only film to win the New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Picture by a unanimous vote on the first ballot.
The premiere took place aboard the French transatlantic liner "Normandie".
This was the first of RKO's three-picture deal with director John Ford and despite its deserved reputation and multiple Oscars, it was a low budget production. Its production costs came to a mere $243,000.
John Ford was concerned that the scene where drunken "King" Gypo goes into the brothel for Katie would not pass censors. The studio came up with the idea to "put the cats in hats"--that is, have all the prostitutes wear hats indoors, thus dissuading the censorship board from thinking they were prostitutes.
A number of references suggest the possibility that Ward Bond appears in a bit part in this film, and it has also been rumored that J. Farrell MacDonald does so as well. However, frame-by-frame analysis of the film indicates that neither appears in the film in any capacity, and indeed, both were rather more substantially well known at the time than a passing bit role would suggest as likely, even for their friend John Ford. In one scene, in the fish-and-chips shop, an extra appears who has a slight resemblance to Bond, but it is definitely not he. And J. Farrell MacDonald's name might well have been mistaken for J.M. Kerrigan, who does indeed have a substantial role. Kerrigan, though, is already billed in the credits. Bond and MacDonald are not in The Informer.
Dudley Nichols became the first person to decline an Oscar, turning it down because of Union disagreements. Academy records indicate that Nichols had taken possession of his Oscar by 1949.
A presentation copy of the script was recently found on a garbage pile in Madison, Wisconsin. It was brought on to the show "Antiques Roadshow" where it was appraised for about $4000.
RKO was highly dubious about the project, given the depressing subject matter and the pathetic lead character. However, following the success of John Ford's The Lost Patrol, the studio agreed to stump up the budget for the film, provided it didn't cost any more than $250,000. Ford had to forgo his own salary to ensure that the film met that budget restriction. The film came in at $243,000.
Initially a box office failure, the film made millions when it was re-released after its multiple wins at the Academy Awards.
Another reason why RKO was reluctant to make the film was because a version of the story had already been filmed in the UK in 1929.
John Ford kept Victor McLaglen continually off-balance (and thus in character) by getting him drunk, changing his schedules, verbally abusing him on and off the set and filming scenes when he'd told McLaglen that they were only rehearsing. For the crucial rebel court scene, the story goes that Ford reduced the actor to a trembling wreck by promising him the day off only to bring him into the studio early and extremely hung over, insisting that he spit out his lines. McLaglen was so furious with Ford over this that he threatened to quit acting and kill the director.
John Ford had been highly impressed by F.W. Murnau's Sunrise and wanted to bring an element of German Expressionism to this film.
In later years, in interviews with fellow director Peter Bogdanovich, John Ford conceded that he felt that this film lacked humor.
Dudley Nichols wrote the script in six days.
Shot in 17 days.
Director Samuel Fuller's favorite film.
"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on July 10, 1944 with Wallace Ford reprising his film role.
"Academy Award Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on May 25, 1946 with Victor McLaglen reprising his film role.
The surname Gallagher is pronounced "Galligger" by characters, however, in Ireland the name is always pronounced "Gallaher."
Incorrectly regarded as goofs
Frankie McPhillip tells his mother he travelled to her house via O'Connell Street. In 1922, the year the movie is set, O'Connell Street was still offically called Sackville Street, but the Irish Home Rule Party had unsuccessfully attempted to change it to "O'Connell Street" prior to this and this name was commonly used by nationalist Dubliners.
Watch the Trailer