The Informer (1935)

Imdb Ranking 7.5

Set in Dublin in 1922, the movie starts with the words "And then Judas repented himself - and cast down the thirty pieces of silver - and departed."

On a dark, foggy night Gypo Nolan (Victor McLaglen) comes upon a poster offering a reward for his best friend Frankie McPhillip who is a member of the illegal Irish Republican Army. There is a 20 pound reward and he is wanted for murder.

Gypo's girlfiend, Katie, is a street walker. they can't escape the poverty they are in. They look longingly at the sign for a trip to America, but they don't have the money. It costs 10 pounds for the trip. When Frankie, who has been on the run for six months, suddenly sits down at Gypo's table, Gypo can only see the twenty pounds. Frankie has snuck in to town to see his mother.

Gypo has been court-martialed out of the IRA. They drew straws, and he got the short one, and he was supposed to take a man out execute him, but he couldn't do it. Now the Irish think he is with the British and the British think he is with the Irish. Frankie heads off saying "Up the Rebels".

Gypo goes to the Tan's headquarters and says "I'd like to claim the 20 pounds for Frankie McPhillip." The next think we see are the tans raiding a house. Shooting breaks out and Frankie, trying to escape, is gunned down in a scene resembling the crucifixion.

The Tan officer then tosses the twenty pounds to Gypo. Gypo then goes in to the bar and orders whiskey. The bartender says "There's a lot of things i'd like if I could afford it." Gypo, surprises him, and throws money on the counter. Gypo then begins to hear Frankie's voice. When Katie comes in, Gypo tells her "I did it for you." He then tells her he robbed a sailor.

Gypo then has to go over to Frankie's house where people are calling on Frankie's mother.

Gypo shouts "I am sorry for your trouble Mrs. McPhillips" in the middle of the wake. As he gets up coins fall out of his pockets and everyone looks at him. The IRA men in particular are interested. Gypo says "I swear by all that is holy that I warned him to stay away from this house." The IRA men tell Gypo that he can get back in if he finds the informer and Gypo says he will.

Gypo blames Mulligan saying that he had a grudge against Frankie. he said that he saw him going in to the Tans headquarters. When he leaves the IRA men say that they think it was him. The Commander doesn't think it was Gypo because Frankie wa his best friend, but he says they must find the informer tonight.

Gypo drinks some more, fights and buys fish and chips for the crowd and the IRA watches. He then goes to a private club and blows some more money and the IRA watches him spend.

At an IRA Court of Inquiry, Gypo breaks down and says he doesn't know why he did it. The IRA men draw straws to see who will execute him, but Gypo escapes through the roof. Gypo tells Katie that he informed on Frankie for her. Katie goes and begs for his life, but it does no good. The IRA men come and gun him down. Gypo manages to make his way to the church where he admits to Frankie;s mom what he did and asks foe her forgiveness. She forgives him saying "You didn't know what you were doing."

The picture won John Ford the first of the four Best Picture Oscars he would receive. A little heavy handed at times, with some of McLaglen's acting being more demonstrative than necessary, reminiscent of the style used in the silent movies John Ford learned his trade on. But the movie was beautifully filmed and there were some wonderful scenes in it. A really good movie by the master.