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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving tale of the Irish diaspora, 3 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Hanging Gale [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This video was recommended to me by someone in Ireland as being th most realistic piece about the famine experience. I was moved to tears upon seeing the unfolding of the story of one family's struggle to survive in famine times. The video is realistic in it's portrayal of the gruesome situation our ancestor's faced in order provide for themselves. I would very much recommend this to anyone with any interest at all in things Irish.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent account, 13 Aug 2005
By 
John P. Mccormack (Liverpool, Merseyside United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The Hanging Gale is a truly rare drama. It focuses on one of the Irish Famines of the 1840s.
Intelligently acted and with a fine script - this drama puts a human face on incredible human suffering. The characters, both English and Irish are seen as individuals - this is not a simple piece of political propaganda. The Hanging Gale tries hard to give a balanced picure - the English characters of this drama are never stereotyped villains. In fact the Hanging Gale raises questions for today: questions that stretch far further than the shores of Ireland.
I certainly agree with my fellow commentator (from Derby) that the Hanging Gale is a fine piece of work, but I am amazed and angered by the tone of his report. It is easy to compare the census reports for 1841 and 1851. It is also possible to factor in the number of emigrants leaving Ireland and to realistically estimate the natural population growth that should have taken place.
The figures are damning. Reputable and mainstream historians estimate Irish deaths during the famine years of 1845-49 to range between one million to 800, 000. Please take a moment to think of those numbers. Though many Irish people, my own ancestors included, owed their lives to the generosity and humanity of individual English men and women who voluntarily sent food and supplies - this does not obscure the callous ineptitude of the British Government whose gross disinterest and mishandling of these agricultural disasters condemned so many of their own subjects to death by starvation - while food was actually being exported OUT of Ireland.
I will pass over just why so many native Irish people were subsisting on land so poor - potatoes were the only crop capable of sustaining them.
Recounting Ireland's terrible suffering during the Famine does not make martyrs of the Irish - any more than "Schindler's List" makes martyrs of the Jews, "Lawrence of Arabia" makes martyrs of the Arabs, or "Glory" makes martyrs of former African slaves. There are human tragedies which must be remembered. The world we share now is shaped by our past - is any nation so powerful it can ever forget that?
"Compassion makes expensive calls on the conscience and it is a comfort to find it undeserved." John Prebble.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hanging Gale, 20 Aug 2010
By 
David Rowland - See all my reviews
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When I was at school in the late 1950s, I first became fascinated with history and as a loyal and true Englishman I felt a deep sense of national pride when I saw so much of the world map coloured red indicating that these countries were part of the great British Empire upon which the sun never set. Wasn't it good I thought that so much of the world we had "civilised" and how fortunate people living in these backward countries were that we persuaded them that our ways were the best ways and that they should adopt them. It was only later that I and other British people became aware of how the world had actually become red, what was done to keep it red and that what I had taken so much pride in had come about through military conquest, slavery, murder, exploitation and the widespread deprivation of human rights.

The whole of Ireland was once red and The Hanging Gale vividly tells the story of how the country was governed by the British in the mid 19th century through a combination of military occupation and repression and when the potato famine destroyed their main food crop and how little their plight elicited any help from the British authorities. The story is told largely through the eyes of the Dolan family who ironically save the life of the newly arrived British land agent (superbly played by Michael Kitchen) who later is the instrument of their destruction when they and other tenant farmers in Donegal rebel against British rule. The land agent is not entirely insensitive to the plight of the farmers but he is a man of his times and a former soldier used to obeying orders without question. The four McGann brothers play the Dolan brothers with passion and intensity their loyalty towards each other and their families is moving and one of the highlights of the film.

The production is an uncomprimising study of the nature of imperial power, of British rule over the Irish people but the bitter hostility and resentment this built up over two hundred years later came to haunt generations of British and Irish people. It lead to much innocent blood being shed and its legacy of social division, religious bigotry and communal tension is there for all to see today.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hanging Gale, 1 Jan 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Hanging Gale [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Irish history - superbly written, & portrayed. Acting & actors really reflecting the determination & commitment to family during tremendous persecution by the English landowners.A heart-rending tale that everyone should see, to understand what Irish tenants had to fight for - to exist. FANTASTIC story, reflecting conditions in the 1800s, sad & very moving.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brutal Ireland, Tender Ireland, 18 April 2009
By 
B. Tierney (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This a story that cannot be told too often, and it is told here with all the brutality and the tenderness of those times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the hanging gail, 16 April 2009
By 
Paul Evans (San Miguel De Salinas Spain) - See all my reviews
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I fond the film a great look at histoty I am English and my Wife is Irish a great piece of history Paul Evans
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5.0 out of 5 stars Terror for the Irish, 11 July 2014
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This one film that every one should buy and see. We have a reflection of how the British act towards the irish in past history. This is also a story that brings out the atrocious acts of violence on innocent people who had life hard enough with out the english bullies takeing every thing away from them. This is a classic story of what the english did all around the world and has the gall to to tell other nations what they are allowed to do in their own countries. This film that was written by a great family and also acted in this master piece in showing the hatred on the english. I say well done to the McGann brothers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Michael Kitchen is the standout, 19 Jun 2014
By 
brian (Czech Republic) - See all my reviews
If you like Michael Kitchen this one is worth watching. While it has many good elements, his performance is perfect, as usual. If not for his role it would tip over with it's black versus white righteous simplicity. However, Kitchen saves it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excent veiwing!!, 23 May 2014
By 
Alexis (Denbighshire .UK) - See all my reviews
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Excellent film,it really tugs at the heart strings,to me especially with my Irish roots!,would recommend this film ,a very good watch
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4.0 out of 5 stars Moving, engaging film., 28 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Hanging Gale [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The brothers McGann were exceptional to watch with kudos all round. The writing is superb with honest, heart-breaking detail about a very hard time in Ireland's history and the cinematography is striking.
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Hanging Gale [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Hanging Gale [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] by Diarmuid Lawrence (DVD - 2006)
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