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The Colleen Bawn (1911)

A young Irish boy has fallen in love with a poor girl and wants to marry her, but his mother will stop at nothing, including murder, to see that he marries his rich cousin.


Dion Boucicault (play), Gene Gauntier


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Cast overview:
Gene Gauntier ... Eily O'Connor, the 'Colleen Bawn'
J.P. McGowan ... Hardress Cregan
Sidney Olcott ... Danny Mann
J.J. Clark ... Myles na Copaleen (as Jack J. Clark)
Alice Hollister ... Anne Chute
Arthur Donaldson ... Father Tom
Robert G. Vignola ... Mr. Corrigan
Agnes Mapes ... Mrs. Cregan
Anna Clark ... Sheelah (as Mrs. Clark)
George Fisher ... Kyrle Daly


(Reel 1) In all Ireland there existed no more beautiful estate than Tore Cregan, the baronial home of the Cregans. But with all its natural beauty, a shadow, in the form of a heavy mortgage, hung over the estate. Mrs. Cregan, therefore, laid careful plans that her son, Hardress should marry Anne Chute, whose fortune would lift the indebtedness of the family. But her plans were shattered when Hardress met Eily O'Connor, "The Colleen Bawn." Hardress wooed the simple maid and quietly married her. It was easy to persuade her to keep the secret; she did not aspire to a place by his side in the world. Knowing nothing of the nuptials, Mrs. Cregan resented the attentions of Kyrle Daly to Anne and informed her son, who shocked her by his indifference. Squire Corrigan, the holder of the mortgage, offered Mrs. Cregan two alternatives before he foreclosed: she must either marry him or secure Anne's written consent to marry Hardress. He told her of Hardress' meetings with the Colleen, which the ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Drama | Thriller | Short







Release Date:

16 October 1911 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Beaufort, County Kerry, Ireland

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kalem Company See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Before this film, multi-reel films were exhibited in different days.

"Motography" (October, 1911 pp.186) from Library of Congress: October 16 is the release date, all three reels being put on the market at the same time. In this respect Kalem is following the lead of several other of the manufacturers. It is a good idea, this thing of releasing all of a several-reel subject on the same date instead of on successive dates. It enables the maker to get out better advertising matter and to place it more judiciously, while the exhibitor may run the different parts on succeeding nights, if he chooses, or he may show them as an entire program and feature it in his ' own advertising. No matter which way is preferable, the exhibitor is given a choice, which is always a good thing. See more »


Version of The Colleen Bawn (1911) See more »

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User Reviews

The Third O'Kalem
5 November 2018 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

This movie is based on the Dion Boucicault play that, in turn, was based on the 1819 murder of Ellen Scanlan. Upper-class J.P. McGowan secretly marries poor Gene Gauntier. Some time later, his mother wants him to marry his rich cousin, Alice Hollister, who will raise the mortgage on the family home. McGowan waffles, while hunchback Sidney Olcott (who also directed) keeps offering to kill Miss Gauntier in return for his master's glove.

It's the third O'Kalem, one of the movies that Olcott did for Kalem with a company sent to Ireland. It's a very ambitious movie, being three reels in length, and the titles constantly note that a particular scene was filmed at the historical location.

On the down side, it's shot in the "Illustrated Title" mode, with the events being explained, then shown, and George Hollister's usually solid camerawork is marred by rather eccentric lighting. I suspect the issue was partially a desire to not disturb important tourist sites, and partly haste; Olcott was paid based on how much film he shot, and he probably pushed his staff to get the scene in the can as quickly as possible.

It looks like an important movie to me, even though its antiquated themes and authentic locales that look generic fail to impress. Certainly there are many similarities in techniques used when the company went to Palestine the next year to shoot FROM THE MANGER TO THE CROSS.

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