The Gentle Gunman
The Gentle Gunman – 1952 | 86 mins | Drama, Thriller | B&W
The Gentle Gunman was directed by Basil Dearden, and adapted by Roger Macdougall from his own play about the activities of a group of IRA men in London in 1941. The theme is the issue of violence as a means of achieving an ideal. Somehow the events of the more recent past make it difficult to be truly objective about the film. Its attitudes appear to be far too glib and unconvincingly examined to represent any profound statement on the Irish situation. Although the action scenes have a certain excitement, much of the film is stagey and plodding.
The naivety of the overall message, is based upon John Mills weariness of the constant violence. He begins to preach a philosophy of peaceful persuasion, and refuses direct orders to blow up a London railway station. The gunman’s impatient brother (Dirk Bogarde) find his sibling’s new approach to be counterproductive to the movement. The rest of the IRA agrees, and soon the gentle gunman is branded a traitor and a price is placed on his head. can be persuaded to give up their violent calling if something decent enough happens, is but one of the many artificial touches that compound the failure of the film. The cast included John Mills and Dirk Bogarde, neither at their best, and television celebrity Gilbert Harding, playing (to the manor born) the part of a bigoted Englishman who is unable to comprehend anything sensible about the Irish.
ExtractŠ George Perry: Forever Ealing.