Captain Lightfoot (1955)

91-92 mins | Adventure | March 1955

Full page view
HISTORY

The film begins with the following written foreword: "Ireland 1815: This is the story of Mike Martin--better known as in legend as Captain Lightfoot--and of a great hero called Captain Thunderbolt--and the story of Ireland. The Ireland of deep black rivers and red-coated dragoons riding through a land bitter with resistance against foreign rule. The Ireland of secret societies and highwaymen on the Dublin road--the Ireland of dark deeds performed with a light heart--the bad, good old Ireland."
       Captain Lightfoot was shot entirely on location in Ireland. According to an Aug 1954 NYT article, director Douglas Sirk utilized several locales in Ireland, including Dublin, the village of Clogherhead in County Louth, Beauparc mansion, Slane Castle and Powerscourt mansion. He also built a makeshift studio in the Dublin suburb of Teranure. Studio press materials note that Lord and Lady Mount Charles, who play aristocrats in the film, are the inhabitants of Slane Castle, and add Bective Abbey to the list of shooting locations. An Apr 1954 HR news item erroneously lists actor Charles FitzSimons, who plays "Dan Chanley," as an art director. The HR review mistakenly identifies the film's time period as the 18th century. A Jun 1954 HR item adds Lord Langford to the cast and studio press materials add John McNeil to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been ... More Less

The film begins with the following written foreword: "Ireland 1815: This is the story of Mike Martin--better known as in legend as Captain Lightfoot--and of a great hero called Captain Thunderbolt--and the story of Ireland. The Ireland of deep black rivers and red-coated dragoons riding through a land bitter with resistance against foreign rule. The Ireland of secret societies and highwaymen on the Dublin road--the Ireland of dark deeds performed with a light heart--the bad, good old Ireland."
       Captain Lightfoot was shot entirely on location in Ireland. According to an Aug 1954 NYT article, director Douglas Sirk utilized several locales in Ireland, including Dublin, the village of Clogherhead in County Louth, Beauparc mansion, Slane Castle and Powerscourt mansion. He also built a makeshift studio in the Dublin suburb of Teranure. Studio press materials note that Lord and Lady Mount Charles, who play aristocrats in the film, are the inhabitants of Slane Castle, and add Bective Abbey to the list of shooting locations. An Apr 1954 HR news item erroneously lists actor Charles FitzSimons, who plays "Dan Chanley," as an art director. The HR review mistakenly identifies the film's time period as the 18th century. A Jun 1954 HR item adds Lord Langford to the cast and studio press materials add John McNeil to the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Feb 1955.
---
Daily Variety
15 Feb 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
18 Feb 55
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 53
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Apr 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 54
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 54
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 55
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Feb 55
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
12 Feb 55
p. 322.
New York Times
1 Aug 1954.
---
Variety
16 Feb 55
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story and adpt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Captain Lightfoot by W. R. Burnett (New York, 1954).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Kate Kearney," Irish folk song.
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1955
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Chicago, IL: 18 February 1955 Los Angeles opening: 9 March 1955
Production Date:
22 June--mid August 1954
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
13 January 1955
Copyright Number:
LP4374
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
91-92
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In the Irish town of Ballymore in 1815, daredevil rebel Michael Martin robs rich Englishmen along the highway and gives the money to the poor, oppressed Irish peasants. One day, after discovering that his most recent stolen purse is empty, Mike wishes he were as skilled as famed rebel Captain Thunderbolt. Mike visits Brady's tavern, where British High Steward Desmond is collecting his stiff tariff, and when Desmond leaves, Mike impulsively knocks him out and robs him. Mike brings the money to the rebel society meeting, but cautious leader Regis O'Donnell argues that they must return the money and act within the law. Disgusted, Mike starts a fight, but is interrupted when word comes that he has been identified as Desmond's attacker, and must flee to Dublin to avoid arrest. Escaping on foot, Mike is almost caught by the dragoons, but is helped by a fiery traveling parson, who hides him in his wagon. The parson brings Mike to a tavern in Dublin, where he introduces him to the proprietor, Big Tom, as a rebel. The parson watches with delight as Big Tom, a boxer, insults Mike and Mike fights with zeal. Finally, the parson breaks up the fight to reveal his true identity: John Doherty, or Captain Thunderbolt. Doherty so admires Mike's spirit that he invites him to serve as his second-in-command, and an awed Mike is even more pleased when Doherty dresses him in finery and invites him to the casino he runs, under the auspices of his lover, Lady Ann Moore. There, Doherty's headstrong daughter Aga invites Mike to dance, and when his head is turned by the many beautiful women, Aga pretends he has stepped ... +


In the Irish town of Ballymore in 1815, daredevil rebel Michael Martin robs rich Englishmen along the highway and gives the money to the poor, oppressed Irish peasants. One day, after discovering that his most recent stolen purse is empty, Mike wishes he were as skilled as famed rebel Captain Thunderbolt. Mike visits Brady's tavern, where British High Steward Desmond is collecting his stiff tariff, and when Desmond leaves, Mike impulsively knocks him out and robs him. Mike brings the money to the rebel society meeting, but cautious leader Regis O'Donnell argues that they must return the money and act within the law. Disgusted, Mike starts a fight, but is interrupted when word comes that he has been identified as Desmond's attacker, and must flee to Dublin to avoid arrest. Escaping on foot, Mike is almost caught by the dragoons, but is helped by a fiery traveling parson, who hides him in his wagon. The parson brings Mike to a tavern in Dublin, where he introduces him to the proprietor, Big Tom, as a rebel. The parson watches with delight as Big Tom, a boxer, insults Mike and Mike fights with zeal. Finally, the parson breaks up the fight to reveal his true identity: John Doherty, or Captain Thunderbolt. Doherty so admires Mike's spirit that he invites him to serve as his second-in-command, and an awed Mike is even more pleased when Doherty dresses him in finery and invites him to the casino he runs, under the auspices of his lover, Lady Ann Moore. There, Doherty's headstrong daughter Aga invites Mike to dance, and when his head is turned by the many beautiful women, Aga pretends he has stepped on her foot and mockingly names him "Captain Lightfoot." Meanwhile, Doherty notes with displeasure the arrival of Captain Hood, who announces that rival casino owner Sir George Bracey wants to buy out Doherty. Soon after, the police raid the gambling house, and though Doherty, Ann and Aga race out the back door, Mike stays to fight with a dragoon who mistreats one of the women. In jail, Mike is aghast to discover first that the "ladies" are prostitutes, then that he is being released based on the word of an aristocrat friend of Doherty's, Lord Clonmell. Later Mike learns that his idol is preparing to duel with Bracey, who arranged the raid. At Doherty's, Mike informs Aga that all these incongruities have caused him to want to return to Ballymore, but Aga explains that Doherty's casino makes money off the Englishmen and funnels it to Dublin's poor. Relieved, Mike accompanies Doherty to Bracey's, where men lie in wait to attack them. Doherty kills Bracey but is shot in the arm by Hood. He and Mike escape to rebel Tuer O'Brien's cottage, where a weakened O'Brien orders Mike to run the business for him and keep his whereabouts a secret. Mike returns home and, upon discovering that Hood is courting Aga, forbids her to see him. When she refuses, he spanks her, and later throws Hood off the premises. That night, Hood visits the casino and attempts to provoke Clonmell into a duel. To save the rebellion's highest-born ally, Mike intervenes, challenging Hood to a duel. Later, however, he learns that, because Hood is an officer of the crown, harming him will result in Mike's death. At the pistol duel, Mike casually smokes a cigar, infuriating Hood so much that he misses his mark. When Mike is offered a free shot at Hood, he demurs. He then sees Aga at the duel and, furious that she has been exposed to the potential violence, orders her home. She does not return until nightfall, vexing Mike even more by announcing that she is engaged to a friend. Storming into her bedroom, he demands that she break the engagement, and gathers her into a passionate embrace. Later, Tuer delivers a message from Doherty that he must rest for longer than expected, and when Tuer leaves, Aga follows him to her father's hiding place, not realizing that she is being trailed by Hood. Hours later, Hood arrests Doherty and places him in a Dublin castle. Remembering Doherty's disguise, Mike dresses as a parson and enters the dungeon. Just as he discovers that Doherty has already been rescued by Clonmell, he is captured. Upon hearing that Mike has been taken to Ballymore to stand trial for robbing Desmond, Doherty asks for time to think, but Aga impulsively races to Ballymore. There, she finds the society and, after naming Captain Thunderbolt as her father, convinces the group to storm the castle where Mike is being held. Meanwhile, Mike refuses to reveal Doherty's whereabouts, so Desmond persuades Regis to induce Mike into talking. While Regis orders Mike to be starved until he talks, Doherty arrives in town with several armed rebels, preparing to spring Mike from the prison. That night, before either group can begin their rescue, Regis, who has only been pretending to be in league with Desmond, frees Mike and leads him to a rowboat. As they cross the river, the dragoons attack, and Doherty and his men arrive to return fire. Regis is hit, however, and the boat overturns. Doherty finds the society, who are just about to leave for the castle, and informs them all that Mike and Regis are dead and that he must stay in Dublin, regardless of his health, until he finds someone to take his place. Aga breaks down until she hears a man whistling, and wheels around to discover Mike there. He explains that he and Regis hid under the boat and paddled to safety, and the fact that they have been reported officially dead means that they will be able to carry on Doherty's work in secret. The next day, Mike informs Aga that she must leave with Doherty and Ann because his lifestyle is too dangerous, but Doherty purposefully leaves Aga behind. Aware that he has been tricked, a delighted Mike takes her in his arms. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.