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"Bull" McCabe's family has farmed a field for generations, sacrificing endlessly for the sake of the land, and when the widow, who owns the field, decides to sell the field in a public auction, McCabe knows that he must own it. But while no one in the village would dare bid against him, an American with deep pockets decides that he needs the field to build a highway. The Bull and his son decide to convince the American to give up bidding on the field, but things go horribly wrong.Written by
Final Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Richard Harris. Harris never won an Oscar, his first Oscar nomination had been also for the Best Actor in a Leading Role category for This Sporting Life (1963). See more »
During the opening scene when the donkey is thrown off the cliff, as it hits the water its legs collapse into it. This shows that the donkey was a stuffed animal. See more »
Go on father, go on. Lock the gates to God's house. Sure they were locked at the time of the Famine too. No priest died the time of the Famine: only poor people like us.
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And, like all good Irish publicans, he greeted all his customers like old friends.
After the curtain came down, during Writers' Week in Listowel, there was only one place to be.
"The Field" is generally regarded as Keane's greatest achievement. He was certainly aware of that fact and had denied it to The Southern Theatre Company (STC), who had opened all, or most, of his other works. But "The Field" was not "Many Young Girls of Twenty" and, for Keane, there was only one "Bull McCabe" - Ray McAnally.
Keane was right to wait for McAnally.
This was a portrayal of immense power and menace and McAnally literally terrified the audience, such was the intensity of his acting. One left the theater exhausted, yet exhilarated.
Bad feeling followed between Keane & Jamas N Healy (Hayley as he was called), the leading actor in the STC. I knew him well & he told me that he could do Bull McCabe as well as any one.
Maybe; I never saw him try it.
But McAnally's performance - and I went back a second time - has been burned into my consciousness.
He finally achieved the fame & honors that were long overdue and his portrayal of Harry Perkins - in "A Very British Coup" - must stand as one of the finest pieces of character-acting on record.
But his Bull McCabe was incomparable; definitive - almost impossible to follow.
I also met Richard (Dicky) Harris - a fine actor (This Sporting Life - a wonderful portrayal of macho tenderness)- and he was, perhaps fortunate that McAnally's performance had not transferred to film.
But good an actor as Harris was, he missed the menace.
And I am uncertain about that beard. In my experience, farmers of that period were always beardless; unshaven perhaps, but I felt that Harris looked a bit like Charlton Heston, hamming-up the division of the Red Sea on some back lot in Hollywood, & the performance lost credibility because of that.
Maybe Jim Sheridan would disagree?
Sorry, JJ; a good effort, but beards are for trade-union agitators; Fidel lookalikes & revivalist preachers.
Not hard-working Kerry farmers.
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