John Ford – The Informant (1935)

Victor McLaglen in The Infomer

Victor McLaglen in The Infomer

A well constructed narrative that works at several levels: the political context, personal intellectual capability, loyalties, the charity of giving, forgiveness, and the longing for true liberty. It is well paced and exceedingly well acted by Victor McLaglen. The trail scene owes a debt to Fritz Lang’s M, and the debt is well discharged.

Ford establishes the socio-economic environment of the time effectively. It is important to remember that Ireland was under English rule for four centuries, from 1536 to 1922. A good heart can lose its moral compass, but in this story, the compass simply points to another place; a good heart incapable of considering its actions because it functions with ignorance easily loses its way. None of this has changed: the voluntary of evil becomes involuntary, and the involuntary good voluntarily tolerates its own evil.

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