The Informer (1929)

An early, silent adaptation of Liam O’Flaherty’s 1925 novel about betrayal amid the political and revolutionary environment of the newly independent Ireland of 1922.

Film details

Introduction

Liam O’Flaherty’s 1925 novel about betrayal amidst the chaotic political and revolutionary environment of the newly independent Ireland of 1922 was famously adapted for the screen by John Ford. This earlier, silent adaptation is arguably finer, bringing to bear the best of late 1920s European filmmaking, but with one foot in the 1930s.

O’Flaherty claimed that he wrote The Informer as a ‘high-brow detective story’ that was ‘based on the technique of the cinema’. Director Robison’s approach, emphasising the sense of claustrophobia and playing up the chiaroscuro, anticipates the mood of later film noir thrillers. German cinematographers Werner Brandes and T. Sparkuhl make the most of the A-list international stars, Lars Hanson and the languorously beautiful Lya de Putti.

Dublin is convincingly realised – one virtuoso tracking shot takes you from a rooftop down to a bustling street as it follows Gypo Nolan (Lars Hanson), elbowing his way through the crowd, on his way to inform on his friend. Love and loyalty struggle to survive the consequences of his action.

Cast & Credits

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