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Young Cassidy (1965)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | 22 April 1965 (Argentina)
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The misadventures of a young idealist man in the Dublin of the early twentieth century.

Directors:

Jack Cardiff, John Ford (uncredited)

Writers:

John Whiting (screenplay), Sean O'Casey (autobiography "Mirror in My House")
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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rod Taylor ... John Cassidy
Julie Christie ... Daisy Battles
Maggie Smith ... Nora
Michael Redgrave ... W.B. Yeats
Edith Evans ... Lady Gregory
Flora Robson ... Mrs. Cassidy
Jack MacGowran ... Archie
Siân Phillips ... Ella
T.P. McKenna ... Tom
Julie Ross Julie Ross ... Sara
Robin Sumner Robin Sumner ... Michael
Philip O'Flynn Philip O'Flynn ... Mick Mullen (as Phillip O'Flynn)
Pauline Delaney ... Bessie Ballynoy (as Pauline Delany)
Arthur O'Sullivan Arthur O'Sullivan ... Foreman
Joe Lynch Joe Lynch ... 1st Hurler
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Storyline

In Dublin circa 1911, John Cassidy (Rod Taylor), an impoverished idealist, whose ambitions are restricted by the demands of looking after his family, journeys through the social injustices of Dublin life, involving himself with the rowdy tramway-men strike, dawdling with prostitute Daisy Battles (Julie Christie), and seeking a better life. He falls in love with bookshop assistant Nora (Dame Maggie Smith) who encourages him toward a life of writing. Finding success at the Abbey Theatre, his unorthodox views estrange him from family, friends, and his own past. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Brawling, battling, earthy... That's Young Cassidy - taking on the world with two fists clenched and every male sense soaring See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 April 1965 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

El soñador rebelde See more »

Filming Locations:

County Wicklow, Ireland See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview, Director Jack Cardiff said that only four minutes and five seconds of the footage shot by John Ford ended up in the finished movie. The riot scene was cited by critics as the obvious work of Ford, yet it was completely done by Cardiff who admitted that he found inspiration from Battleship Potemkin (1925). See more »

Goofs

The story is set around 1910. One hour into the story a horse and carriage pass by. A 1960s-era car is seen turning at an intersection where it just came from. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Foreman: [agitated with his overly vigorous workmanship] Cassidy! For the love-a God man, your enthusiasm will be the death of us all. Toss the dirt nice and easy where it's meant to go.
John Cassidy: Yes sir.
Foreman: What dya think you're doin' down there, reconstructin' the whole of Ireland? Come on outta there, come up.
[John reluctantly climbs out of the trench]
Foreman: Cassidy, ya be with us one day, and already ya nearly caused the most terrible slaughter among the men.
John Cassidy: Yes, I'll get the hang of it if I'm given the ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Billed as "A John Ford Film", although Jack Cardiff is credited as sole director. See more »

Connections

Featured in Sean O'Casey: The Spirit of Ireland (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Strong on character, weak on plot
28 May 2010 | by JamesHitchcockSee all my reviews

"Young Cassidy" was to have been directed by John Ford, but he had to withdraw owing to illness about three weeks into filming, and was replaced by Jack Cardiff, who was credited as director. Had Ford completed it, it would have been his penultimate film; he was to complete one more film, "Seven Women", the following year. Ford was himself of Irish descent and occasionally made films on Irish subjects, such as "The Quiet Man".

The film is a biography based upon the life of the dramatist Sean O'Casey, here called John Cassidy. (O'Casey's original name was John Casey, although his family also used the name Cassidy. He Gaelicised his name to Seán Ó Cathasaigh and eventually settled on Sean O'Casey, a compromise between the English and Irish forms). The name may have been changed to allow the film-makers greater freedom to introduce fictional elements into O'Casey's life. For example, in 1926, the year the film ends, he would have been 46, no longer particularly "young" and more than a decade older than Rod Taylor was in 1965.

The film opens 1911 when Cassidy is working as a labourer in Dublin and chronicles the beginning of his literary career, ending with the performance of his play "The Plough and the Stars", which provokes a riot at the Abbey Theatre. The film also chronicles his relations with his family, his love life and his commitment to both socialism and Irish nationalism. Other historical figures are introduced, such as W.B. Yeats, Ireland's leading writer who hails Cassidy as an outstanding new talent, and the literary patron Lady Gregory.

The film's main weakness is perhaps summed by a critic's reaction to one of Cassidy's plays, namely that it is strong on character and weak on plot. The same could be said about the film itself. Although the various characters are well developed, there is no strongly developed plot line. There are occasional action sequences, in themselves well done, such as the scenes of the "Dublin Lock-Out" (a violent industrial dispute) of 1913, the Easter Rising of 1916 and the "Plough and the Stars" riot, in between these the film is rather static and dominated by conversation

Potentially interesting themes tend to be dealt with in a throwaway manner. Cassidy's girlfriend Nora rejects his proposal of marriage and leaves him, even though she is deeply in love with him, because she fears that marriage will have a deleterious effect on his artistic creativity. The idea of a woman sacrificing her happiness for her lover's art could have been an interesting one- could, indeed, have furnished the subject-matter for a whole film- but here it is dealt with very briefly.

Similarly the film touches on, but does not really deal with, the underlying tension between the two political causes to which Cassidy gives his allegiance- socialism, with its ideals of international brotherhood, and Irish nationalism, with its ethos of "ourselves alone" (the literal meaning of the Irish phrase Sinn Fein). It was in fact this tension which led to the "Plough and the Stars" riot, when conservative, middle-class nationalists in the audience took exception to O'Casey's more left-wing perspective and what they saw as his disrespectful attitude to the "heroes" of the Easter Rising. (They also objected to his treatment of religion and sex, especially his making one of his characters a prostitute; in the film one protesting woman exclaims that there is not a single prostitute in the whole of Ireland!)

The film does, however, also have its strong points, and its two greatest strengths are its sense of place- the Dublin of the 1910s and 1920s is brought vividly to life- and the acting. Strangely enough, few of the leading actors were actually Irish- Taylor was Australian and Maggie Smith, Julie Christie, Michael Redgrave, Edith Evans and Flora Robson were all English. (Christie received second billing even though for such a well-known actress she had a surprisingly small role, that of Cassidy's early mistress Daisy Battles). Nevertheless, the Irish accents are well done and never go over the top as sometimes happens with English actors called upon to play Irish roles. Taylor makes Cassidy a strong and rugged hero, and Robson is particularly good as Cassidy's stoical, long-suffering working-class mother.

"Young Cassidy" has its points of interest, but overall I felt that O'Casey was obviously a fascinating character, both as a man and as a writer, and that a stronger biography could have been made of him. 6/10


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