Shake Hands with the Devil (1959)

110 mins | Drama | June 1959

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Raging Men . Although most contemporary sources list the film's running time as 110 minutes, the DV and Var reviews list the running time as 104 minutes at a preview showing, and the HR review gives a running time of 101 minutes. Several reviewers noted that the title was taken from an Irish proverb: "Those who shake hands with the devil often find they have trouble getting their hands back." The onscreen credits note that Michael Redgrave and Sybil Thorndike appear by "specail arrangement." According to an 18 Apr 1958 LAT news item, Anthony Perkins was originally set to co-star in the film.
       The picture was filmed at the Ardmore Studios in Bray, Ireland, and as stated in the credits, "on actual Irish locations," including the streets of Dublin. Although some contemporary sources state that Shake Hands with the Devil was the first American picture to be filmed entirely in Ireland, The Quiet Man was shot on location in Ireland in 1951. Shake Hands with the Devil was the first American film shot at Ardmore Studios, however, and was the first production of both Troy Films, which was Michael Anderson's production company, and Pennebaker, Inc., which was founded by Marlon Brando and his father, Marlon Brando, Sr., in 1955. Producers George Glass and Walter Seltzer, who were also partners in Pennebaker, were former press agents who made their producing debut with this picture.
       As noted by studio publicity, the film marked the screen debut of actress Marianne Benet. Don Murray and Dana ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Raging Men . Although most contemporary sources list the film's running time as 110 minutes, the DV and Var reviews list the running time as 104 minutes at a preview showing, and the HR review gives a running time of 101 minutes. Several reviewers noted that the title was taken from an Irish proverb: "Those who shake hands with the devil often find they have trouble getting their hands back." The onscreen credits note that Michael Redgrave and Sybil Thorndike appear by "specail arrangement." According to an 18 Apr 1958 LAT news item, Anthony Perkins was originally set to co-star in the film.
       The picture was filmed at the Ardmore Studios in Bray, Ireland, and as stated in the credits, "on actual Irish locations," including the streets of Dublin. Although some contemporary sources state that Shake Hands with the Devil was the first American picture to be filmed entirely in Ireland, The Quiet Man was shot on location in Ireland in 1951. Shake Hands with the Devil was the first American film shot at Ardmore Studios, however, and was the first production of both Troy Films, which was Michael Anderson's production company, and Pennebaker, Inc., which was founded by Marlon Brando and his father, Marlon Brando, Sr., in 1955. Producers George Glass and Walter Seltzer, who were also partners in Pennebaker, were former press agents who made their producing debut with this picture.
       As noted by studio publicity, the film marked the screen debut of actress Marianne Benet. Don Murray and Dana Wynter were borrowed from Twentieth Century-Fox for the production. A HR casting note indicates that Maureen Halligan was to be appear in the film, but her appearance in the released picture has not been confirmed. According to a NYT article, Lt. Col. William O'Kelly, the picture's special military adviser, was formerly a member of the Irish Republican Army.
       The film depicts a period of the Irish "troubles," during which the "Black and Tans," consisting of former soldiers recruited by the British government, attempted to quell the Irish nationalist rebellion in 1920. Feared for their brutal methods, the Black and Tans were disbanded with the creation of the Irish Free State by the treaty of 6 Dec 1921. Although the film does not specify which part of Ireland was subject to the treaty, only the southern counties gained dominion status and became the country of Eire. Northern Ireland remains British territory. According to an 8 Jul 1959 HR news item, Shake Hands with the Devil was banned from exhibition in Northern Ireland, where officials feared that the film would incite riots due to its subject matter. The ban was lifted in late Aug 1959, however, according to a HR news item. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 May 1959.
---
Daily Variety
8 May 59
p. 3.
Film Daily
8 May 59
p. 6.
Harrison's Reports
9 May 59
p. 75.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 1958.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 58
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 58
p. 7, 9.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Oct 1958
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 58
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 59
p. 3, 30.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 1959.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 1959.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Aug 1959
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
18 Apr 1958.
---
Motion Picture Daily
8 May 1959.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
9 May 59
p. 252.
New York Times
2 Nov 1958.
---
New York Times
25 Jun 59
p. 20.
Newsweek
3 Nov 1958.
---
The Exhibitor
20 May 59
pp. 4586-87.
Variety
13 May 59
p. 6.
Variety
26 Aug 1959.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
2d unit photog
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des and art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Props
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Ladies' cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp
Played by
Mus cond
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairdressing
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod sup
Casting dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Shake Hands with the Devil by Rearden Conner (London, 1933).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Raging Men
Release Date:
June 1959
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Dublin, Ireland: 21 May 1959
Los Angeles opening: 3 June 1959
Production Date:
8 September--mid November 1958 at the Ardmore Studios, Bray, Ireland
Copyright Claimant:
Troy Films, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
22 May 1959
Copyright Number:
LP13960
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
110
Countries:
Ireland, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19203
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1921, young American medical student Kerry O'Shea, whose Irish father was killed in an uprising against the British, comes to Dublin, and soon helps weapons smuggler Eileen O'Leary hide from the "Black and Tans," an armed force sent by Britain to surpress the Irish rebellion, Kerry tells her that although his heart is with the cause, he does not believe that "violence ever solved anything," and later he remarks to his nationalistic roommate, Paddy Nolan, that the rebellion is "your war." As the two friends leave a pub one evening, Kerry tries to help a terrorist who has been shot by a Black and Tan soldier. While dragging Kerry out of danger, Paddy is also shot, whereupon Kerry takes him to the home of a rebel sympathizer. There he learns that one of his professors, respected surgeon Sean Lenihan, is "the Commandant," the second-in-command of the rebel army. Despite Lenihan's best efforts, Paddy dies, and Kerry, having dropped a textbook inscribed with his name at the scene of the shootout, finds himself a wanted man. Lenihan takes him to "headquarters," where he meets "the General," who knew his father. Kerry is then taken to a small farm overlooking the ocean, to await the boat that will take him out of the country. There Kerry is introduced to Chris Noonan, a gentle poet who writes in Gaelic; Kitty Brady, a feisty barmaid who offers her own brand of comfort to the men, despite Lenihan's orders that she stay away; and Terence O'Brien, a swaggering thug who accuses Kerry of cowardice for not committing himself to the Irish cause. He also briefly meets ... +


In 1921, young American medical student Kerry O'Shea, whose Irish father was killed in an uprising against the British, comes to Dublin, and soon helps weapons smuggler Eileen O'Leary hide from the "Black and Tans," an armed force sent by Britain to surpress the Irish rebellion, Kerry tells her that although his heart is with the cause, he does not believe that "violence ever solved anything," and later he remarks to his nationalistic roommate, Paddy Nolan, that the rebellion is "your war." As the two friends leave a pub one evening, Kerry tries to help a terrorist who has been shot by a Black and Tan soldier. While dragging Kerry out of danger, Paddy is also shot, whereupon Kerry takes him to the home of a rebel sympathizer. There he learns that one of his professors, respected surgeon Sean Lenihan, is "the Commandant," the second-in-command of the rebel army. Despite Lenihan's best efforts, Paddy dies, and Kerry, having dropped a textbook inscribed with his name at the scene of the shootout, finds himself a wanted man. Lenihan takes him to "headquarters," where he meets "the General," who knew his father. Kerry is then taken to a small farm overlooking the ocean, to await the boat that will take him out of the country. There Kerry is introduced to Chris Noonan, a gentle poet who writes in Gaelic; Kitty Brady, a feisty barmaid who offers her own brand of comfort to the men, despite Lenihan's orders that she stay away; and Terence O'Brien, a swaggering thug who accuses Kerry of cowardice for not committing himself to the Irish cause. He also briefly meets the charming Lady Fitzhugh, an elderly rebel sympathizer who plans to smuggle an injured Irish terrorist named Liam O'Sullivan to safety. The plan goes awry, and Lady Fitzhugh is arrested just outside a pub near rebel headquarters. When O'Brien's gun falls to the floor, the Black and Tans assume it belongs to Kerry, and he is dragged from the pub and imprisoned. Kerry is tortured by the Black and Tans, and by the time Lenihan and the others rescue him, he is ready to join the rebellion. During his recovery, Kerry deepens his friendship with Noonan and romances Kitty, who willingly accepts his attentions. When it is learned that Lady Fitzhugh has been on a hunger strike since her arrest, Lenihan suggests that they take a hostage who may be used to effect an exchange. Kerry assists in the kidnapping of Jennifer Curtis, the widowed daughter of military adviser Sir Arnold Fielding, but soon after her imprisonment in a nearby lighthouse, he finds himself falling in love with her. Lenihan reminds Kerry that there is no room for pity and mercy in their war, whereupon Kerry replies that no war is worth winning if those human qualities are forgotten. The discovery by the British of Lenihan's involvement in the kidnapping forces the Commandant underground, and when he meets with the General, he learns that British officials are considering a treaty that would guarantee dominion status for Ireland. Horrified that the General would approve of such a compromise, Lenihan swears to fight until all of Ireland is declared a fully independent republic. Later, Lenihan and the other men meet at the lighthouse to discuss their plan to go to Dublin, where they can ambush and kill Col. Smithson of the Black and Tans. Kitty's presence infuriates Lenihan, and he orders her into the back room with Jennifer. Later, Kitty sneaks out to the beach for a swim in the nude, and when she realizes Lenihan has been watching her, she dares him to touch her. Burning with hatred, Lenihan orders her to leave. Back at her pub, when Kitty discovers that the Black and Tans are looking for her, Donovan, her employer, gives her enough money to book passage to England. Meanwhile, Kerry, aware that the coming morning's ambush is fraught with danger, bids farewell to Jennifer, who by now returns his love. At dawn, the men take their places on the dock, ready to attack Col. Smithson's approaching vehicle. Meanwhile, as Kitty is about to board a vessel to Liverpool, she is detained by Black and Tans. Because of her surprise at seeing O'Brien on the dock, the guards become suspicious and chase him. A gun battle begins, during which Lenihan, assuming Kitty has betrayed them, ignores her pleas and shoots her repeatedly. Seeing this, Kerry, horrified at Lenihan's brutality, goes to the Dublin headquarters and hears the General announce that the proposed treaty has been approved, and that he is on his way to London. Following his departure, however, the remaining rebels learn that Lady Fitzhugh has starved to death. When Lenihan returns to the lighthouse, he hands Jennifer a bible and leads her to the shore, where he plans to carry out an execution of revenge. Kerry pursues them, reminding Lenihan of the treaty and shouting that the Commandant now kills solely for the sake of killing. As Lenihan aims at Jennifer, Kerry cries, "I'm not going to fight your war!" and shoots him. Following Lenihan's death, Kerry looks with pain at his gun and flings it into the sea. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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