May 03, 2008

Luck of the Irish

I'm working on inventing a new genre(!) of film review: the in-progress movie review. As I write, I'm watching the film I'm writing about. I don't know how it ends yet.

I have the tendency to take light movies more seriously than I should, and The Luck of the Irish certainly fits the bill as a light movie. Of course, you'll expect me to rail against the blarney, which is arguably as racist as a Speedy Gonzalez cartoon.

But there are some fairly serious issues at work in this film: the protagonist, Fitzgerald, has to figure out whether he can sell out his journalistic ideals for a good position with the portentously named Augur, a politician he's criticized publicly and a hot, wealthy fiancee Frances, daughter or niece or something to said politician. The fact that Fitzgerald is played by Tyrone Power contributes substantially to the seriousness of the situation; if he were Cary Grant, it would be somewhat lighter and wackier. Power reminds me a lot of George Clooney, though I suppose it ought to be the opposite.

The film is pretty predictable, but I like the way Fitzgerald effectively forgets Ireland and the Irish lass Nora as soon as he leaves ... and even after he runs into her in New York, he's not so haunted by her as to refuse to make out with Frances in old Augur's library.

And of course you have the requisite Irish tenor singing "The Rose of Tralee" and the ensuing donnybrook. Nothing like The Quiet Man, mind you, but good enough. The highlight of the film is of course the interaction between Fitzgerald and Horace, his leprechaun manservant (played by Cecil Kellaway, the cuckold in The Postman Always Rings Twice, one of my favorite films incidentally).

Fitz: "Aren't you a little large for a leprechaun?"

Horace: "That's a page of my family history we won't go into if you don't mind."

I'll take a couple of lines like that over special effects any time. Of course, there are some rudimentary special effects, none as good as the bridge that collapses under Fitzgerald's car early in the film.

The film's coda is particularly charming, and it emphasizes the friendship between Fitzgerald and the leprechaun while giving short shrift to the newlyweds. Overall a charming film; it's almost possible to forgive the racial profiling.

No comments: