A semi-documentary dramatization of five weeks in the life of Vice Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey, Jr., from his assignment to command the U.S. naval operations in the South Pacific to the Allied victory at Guadalcanal.
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Alcoholic newspaperman Lew Marsh hits bottom, loses his job and is rehabilitated by Charley Dolan. After six years on the wagon he gets his job back and devotes himself to other recovering ... See full summary »
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In 1921 Dublin, the I.R.A. battles the "Black & Tans", special British forces given to harsh measures. Irish-American medical student Kerry O'Shea (Don Murray) hopes to stay aloof, but saving a wounded friend gets him outlawed, and inexorably drawn into the rebel organization under his former professor Dr. Sean Lenihan (James Cagney), who has "shaken hands with the devil" and begun to think of fighting as an end in itself. Complications arise when Kerry falls for a beautiful English hostage, and the British offer a peace treaty that is not enough to satisfy Lenihan.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although only ever referred to as "The General", Sir Michael Redgrave's character was meant to be Michael Collins. This was often done in Hollywood movies, taking liberties with historical events so that revered figures were not tainted by any controversy resulting from artistic license. Another example is In Harm's Way (1965), where Henry Fonda was Chester Nimitz, but never named as such in the movie nor the credits. Like Collins, "The General" personified a realist statesman in the mold of the American "Founding Fathers", motivated by his desire for a better future, rather than just rage like James Cagney's character. Like Collins, the General agreed to negotiate a treaty with the British to give Ireland (except for Ulster) self-rule within the British Empire (similar to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and South Africa). Like Collins, he makes the case that it will give them the "freedom to become free" without the need for continued bloodshed. See more »
In response to Kerry's (Don Murray) horror upon hearing that his friend Paddy Nolan's body is to be dumped unceremoniously in a park (probably St. Steven's Green), The Commandant (James Cagney) bemoans the fact that the IRA cannot risk the public ceremony of burying the boy with full honors in Glasnevin like Parnell. Charles Parnell, the 19th century Irish Patriot who called for home rule is not buried in Glasnevin, a Catholic cemetery, as he was a protestant. Ironically, Glasnevin is where The General, Irish patriot, Michael Collins is buried not far from the resting place of Kitty O'Shea, Parnell's mistress. Michael Collins grave is the most visited in Glasnevin. See more »
'Tis a small thing to do for Cathleen O'Shea, whose son once showed Eileen O'Leary a very great kindness.
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Shake Hands with Devil - Cagney brilliantly illustrates dangers of fanaticism
Up till the time I saw this film I was not much of a Cagney fan. But after seeing this film; and "White Heat," I now understand why Cagney was such a big star.
His portrayal of Sean Linahan as a member of the Irish Republican Army brilliantly portrays the thin line between being a dedicated freedom fighter/idealist and a fanatic. Sean Linahan has let hatred take control of his life and he now sees everything through the narrow prism of hate. As a fanatic he operates on an "ends justifies the means basis." Other characters in "Shake Hands with the Devil" are portrayed as men of character, who while fighting for freedom still hold on to their humanity and their compassion.
This is very good movie that is very relevant in today's world and can be used as a starting point for a discussion on modern day Islamic Terrorism or any ism in which the ends justifying the means becomes a standard, not an exception.
As a period film that seriously addresses mankind's nature, this film will be as current 20 years from now as when it was released.
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