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The Times (01/Jan/1930) - Juno and the Paycock: New British talking film

(c) The Times (01/Jan/1930)



Mr. Alfred Hitchcock, director of the British International talking film of Juno and the Paycock, which was privately shown at the Regal Cinema on Monday, has been so faithful to his text as almost to forget the medium in which he was working.

The story of the shiftless "paycock's" legacy which is no legacy, of the seduction of Mary by the young solicitor, and of the shooting of her brother by the Republicans he has betrayed, is told with humour, and. with a restraint which transforms the pathos of the last scenes into tragedy. The acting is excellent: Miss Sara Allgood as Juno, and Miss Kathleen O'Regan as Mary, repeated and extended on the film the excellent performances they had given on the stage, while the other players (in particular Mr. Edward Chapman, who took the part of the "paycock") maintained the high standard thus set for them.

But the humour and tragedy were Mr. O'Casey's; the manner of their expression was that of the Irish Players on the stage ; and all that remained to Mr. Hitchcock was the slight background of firing and street oratory which represented Dublin during the "troubles." This criticism, it should be added, is without prejudice to Mr. Hitchcock's great merits as a producer. His talking film is a work of art; well photographed, well acted, and carrying conviction in every word and scene. Remembering film versions of other plays, one is grateful, too, for the respect paid to Mr. O'Casey's text. But it is less a film than a play projected on the screen.