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The Gentle Gunman [DVD]

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: John Mills, Dirk Bogarde, Elizabeth Sellars, Robert Beatty, James Kenney
  • Directors: Basil Dearden
  • Producers: Michael Relph
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Optimum Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 7 Mar. 2011
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004EMRZXK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,596 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Set during the Second World War, two Irish brothers arrive in London to launch an IRA bombing campaign, but one of them begins to have doubts about their mission. John Mills and Dirk Bogarde play the brothers.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Directed by Basil Dearden and adapted to screenplay from his own play by Roger MacDougal, The Gentle Gunman finds John Mills and Dirk Bogarde as brothers in the IRA circa 1941. Matt (Bogarde) is the young and hungry in the name of the cause brother, Terence (Mills) has grown tired of the violence and questions the IRA's methods. This puts a strain on their relationship, whilst it also puts Terence on a collision course with the IRA superiors who brand him as a traitor.

The Irish Troubles has never been an easy subject to broach in movies, the political stand point of the film makers invariably leaning towards bias. Whilst critics and reviewers have to battle with their own convictions when trying to stay firmly on the fence. The Gentle Gunman is an attempt at being an anti violence movie, one with a "gentle" pro British slant from that most British of film studios, Ealing. Unfortunately it's tonally all over the place, awash with a mixed bunch of characters that range from apparent comic relief, to rabid Irish terrorists and a town crier like British bigot. Things are further put into the realm of the unbelievable by Mills and Bogarde trying to hold down Irish accents, a shame because without the fluctuation of the vocal chords the performances are rather good.

It's also a bit too stagey and the pace often drags itself into a stupor, making the adequate action scenes act more as a merciful release than anything truly exciting. On the plus side the film looks amazing at times, with Gordon Dines (The Blue Lamp) on cinematography dealing firmly in film noir filters. Which goes some way to explain how the film has come to be in a couple of reference books about British noir. But really it's a marginal entry and all told it's just a routine drama from a Studio who were much better in other genre spheres. 6/10
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Satisfactory quality of image and sound for an important film that involves names such as Basil Dearden, Dirk Bogarde and John Mills. The story is quite interesting, and it's not restricted to the british and irish audiences, since in it's essence, manages to deal with universal kinds of conflicts.
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Ealing Studios’ choice of the UK-Irish conflict for this rare 1952 excursion into 'political film-making’ was always going to be something of a stretch, but while Basil Dearden’s film (with a screenplay by Roger MacDougall) treats the politics rather superficially, I found that its tale of conflicted morality, delivered via some engaging plotting and notable character acting turns, made for an intriguing watch. Dearden’s film is also notable for its ambitious scope, as its narrative assumes an 'urban noir’ feel during its London and Belfast sequences as well as taking in the remote, rural landscapes of (southern) Ireland, for which Gordon Dines’ cinematography should be commended.

Gunman’s central theme is the conflict between human (or family) vs. political loyalty, as the film pitches mother, siblings and girlfriend-boyfriend against one another. The central brother pairing of John Mills’ wavering 'traitor’, Terry Sullivan, and Dirk Bogarde’s (just about) still 'loyal to the cause’, Matt, is (dodgy Irish accents aside) very well done and there are also impressive turns from Robert Beatty as the uncompromising IRA man, Shinto, Elizabeth Sellars as the 'deluded idealist’ (and girlfriend to both brothers), Maureen, and from Barbara Mullen as the desperate mother and 'face of humanity’, Molly. Ealing also chose to include a thread of ironic humour running throughout the film via the stereotypical (i.e. comically racist) argument between Gilbert Harding’s blustering toff Englishman, Henry Truethome, and Joseph Tomelty’s Irish doctor, Brannigan (the pair setting up the film’s even-handed treatment of its 'issue’ in an amusing opening sequence).
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This is a very good film. John Mills is excellent as always. Very well made film for its time. Scenery is interesting to see.
Would recommend to watch
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Excellent production and service! Very pleased indeed.
Harry Donaghy
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