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Derby Daily Telegraph (23/Nov/1929) - Ireland's Part in the Film World: Sara Allgood



Ireland's Part in the Film World: Sara Allgood

Sarah Allgood is Irish. There is no getting away from it. However much she may take in the philosophy and view of other nations, however long she may stay among other people, she would remain entirely Irish. And as soon as I saw here I knew it.

She greeted me in her room at the Lyrie Theatre with a charming smile, and pressing a Russian cigarette on me with true Celtic hospitality, started to talk.

"Sean O'Casey? A wonderful playwright. He is one of the finest of our young realists who have come to the front since the war. 'The Silver Tassie'? I have not seen it, but I have read it, and I don't think it is as good as 'Juno and the Paycock.' None of them are. 'The Plough and the Stars' is uneven. But 'Juno'..." and this very naively. "I created the part of Juno."'

Black, bobbed hair inclined to grey a little, grey eyes, and a torrent of words in an appealing Irish brogue.

Emotion First-hand

"We are finishing the film version of it at Elestree. I take my original part. I never rehearse the emotional parts. It spoils it all. I want to say those glorious words straight away so that I can get the emotion first time and not spoil it by repetition."

Celtic enthusiasm and a broader brogue as the words come faster.

"Films? I love them. I d like to finish with the stage right away and do nothing but films. But Irish films... honestly, some of these English producers ought to be shot. The mistakes they make!" This last, with a despairing motion of the hands and a little snort.

"In 'The Informer,' a film of Dublin life, they have a Swede and a Hungarian for the chief parts, neither of whom can speak English, and give them Oxford accents. And they make an awful lot of mistakes in the scenes of Dublin.

"In any case, the Dublin accent is nothing like that of the rest of Ireland. It is nasal. They all speak through their noses." She imitated it, and laughed heartily.

Singing Her Part

"Were you at all nervous in your first talking picture?" I asked.

"Nervous? Nervous?" she gesticulated. "I was scared stiff. I was so scared I didn't know what to do. My first line in 'Blackmail' was, 'Alice, wake up,' and do you think I could say it? I tried and tried, until Hitchy — that's Alfred Hitchcock: he's very kind — bundled all the others out of the room and rehearsed it with me.

"But, I couldn't do it even then, until Phil. Monkman suggested that I should sing it. You know, like this: 'A-a-a-a-lice, w-a-a-a-ke u-u-u-p.'" Another comical imitation. "Then I managed it.

"American talkies? I think they're awful. I loathe them. They go 'wa-wa-wa' all the time, until you don't know where you are.

Ireland and Russia

"Modern Irish Literature?" I suggested.

"J. M. Synge's plays are beautiful. W. B. Yeats is too much up in the clouds. But I like the younger school. These realists have a close affinity with the Russians, and they get at the true heart of Ireland. I think that the self-government has had a lot to do with it."

There was real enthusiasm in her voice as she spoke of her country's literature. Then, "I'm afraid I shall have to throw you out now; I go on very soon."

And suddenly I felt rather dissatisfied with my own voice.