61. The Rising of the Moon (1957)

Leonard Maltin's Rating :
Should be :

IMDB Rating : 6.8

Rotten Tomatoes Rating : 82%

Leonard doesn't really have anything good or bad to say about this wonderful movie except that it is a "Trio of flavorful stories about Irish life."

Made five years after The Quiet Man by John Ford, this movie is made up of three vignettes that appear to be unrelated to each other. It stars the members of the Dublin Abbey Theatre. Each of the stories is introduced by Tyrone Power.

The first story is The Majesty of the Law. The movie opens with an inspector walking off on a task he does not want to do. Over streams, hills and between stone walls he makes his way. He finally arrives at the thatched roof cottage, which is set by a once majestic castle. Inspector Michael Dillon is greeted very warmly by Dan O'Flaherty. Their conversation centers around the making of moonshine. Dan also talks about how times are changing. The art of making moonshine, the remembrance of the songs .. these things are being lost as people head off to Canada, Australia and America and the coming of the films, the radio. The local moonshiner, Mickey J. comes in, and Michael and Dan have a drink.

Two other men come in to the house and one of them mentions Phelim O'Feeney. Dan says that is not a name that is to be mentioned in his house. "There is no man of that name that I know" Dan says. When one of them mentions a fine and Dan turns to look at him he says "Dan, forget them words, they slipped in to me mouth when my back was turned." The men have come to pay the fine for Dan, but Dan digs under his floor and shows that he does indeed have the money but he refuses to pay. O'Feeney had called Dan a liar and Dan cracked his head with his stick. Seeing that Dan won't pay the fine, Michael heads out. He asks Dan if he could make it in some time when it was convenient for him. Dan said that he could make it in on Friday. On Friday, Dan started off to go to the prison. Just then a bandaged Phelim O'Feeney showed up with the fine in his hand. Dan said "You'd like that would you not little man. You'd have the gratification of saying before the whole world that you had pity on an O'Flaherty." And off Dan walked to serve his sentence.

The second story is called A Minute's Wait and takes place at the Dunfaill train station. the train pulls up and the conductor says there will only be a one minute wait, and the refreshment room is open. Everyone crows in to the station's bar. An older English couple is confused by the goings on. Mrs. Falsey talks with her old friend Barney about his son's prospects. The father has his eye on a girl who has a 300 pound dowry. The train is ready to head out but the conductor finds out that Tom Dolan's prize winning goat has to be taken on board. It's going to be another one minute wait. Barney says to Mrs. Falsy : "It's time he settled down with a good wife, with a bit of money of course, to make him suffer like the rest of us."

The conductors have trouble fitting the goat on, so they put him in the first class compartment and move the English couple out. He then takes the first class sign from the door of the compartment and moves it to where the English couple are now saying : "If you want it first class, you must have it first class. There you are Mam now. They're all first class." The train is ready to head out again, but just then the delivery of lobsters for the bishop's golden jubilee dinner show up and there is another one minutes wait as everyone returns to the bar. The lobsters get loaded in to the car with the confused English couple.

The train is ready to head off when the phone rings. The local hurling team's bus has broken down, and up they march with their band, and several men being carried on stretchers. Mrs. Falsey talks Barney in to taking her niece as a suitor when she informs him that the girl had received a 10000 bonus, because her father was killed in the war fighting for the Americans. One of the conductor, Paddy, proposes to his longtime girlfriend Pegeen asking her "How would you like to be buried with my people?" The English couple stepped off the train to get a cup of tea and are left behind.

The final story 1921, tells of how an Irish Patriot is rescued from prison with an elaborate plot. Sean Curran is waiting execution during the "Black and Tan" war. Hundreds of people are walking outside the prison gates saying prayers out loud as they march on by. Two nuns, one of whom is Sean's sister, are allowed in to see Sean for five minutes by the warden. The nuns are brought in, but it doesn't seem like Sean recognizes his sister. When the warden goes down for Sean, there is a Peggy O'Donnell, an from Brooklyn, in his cell and she has a passport. She asks "Are you going to shoot me now, sergeant darling?" Sean has made it out dressed as a nun. A reward for treason is immediately posted for Sean Curran, but he is dressed up as a ballad singer and he makes his way through the check point, with some help from his friends.

Policeman Sergeant O'Hara, sitting with his wife, sees Sean, dressed as a ballad singer and is suspicious. Balladeer Jimmy Walsh makes his way off in a boat. Sergeant O'Hara's wife keeps him distracted but he tries to stop the boat but then he realizes Jimmy Walsh is Sean Curran, and decides he should let him go. Sergeant O'Hara then starts singing Rising of the Moon himself and his wife joins in.

Three stories that don't seem to be connected but maybe they are. Maybe John Ford was telling us that the Irish are a different breed. They have a sense of honor that can't be bought. They have a way of looking at things that can't be regulated by any calendar or clock. And if you try to make them behave like everyone else you were not going to have any luck. A really, really good movie that needs to be seen by more people and needs to get a higher rating from Leonard.


  1. Amen. Just watched it again. One of my favorites.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Dan O'Flaherty reminded me of my grandfather.