Friday, March 17, 2006
St. Patrick's Day Cinema
How do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Do you go to church? Watch the parade? Drink green beer? Eat some corned beef and cabbage? Sip a Shamrock Shake at McDonald's? How about a movie? Is viewing John Ford's The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne, a tradition for you? In Dublin, this year, a double bill of Irish films, spanning nearly a century of filmmaking, will be screened at the St. Patrick's Festival of Film -- taking place at the Irish Film Institute during the upcoming St. Patrick's weekend. The 2005 award-winning short film, The Unusual Inventions of Henry Cavendish tells the love story between an inventor and a beautiful girl; while, In the Days of Saint Patrick, the 1920 silent epic by director Norman Whitten, relates the story and miracles of the patron saint of Ireland. In the Days of Saint Patrick will be accompanied by music from harpist Cormac de Barra. Back home, you can enjoy your own St. Patrick's Day double bill by renting two whimsical leprechaun-centric movies: Darby O'Gill and the Little People and Finian's Rainbow. From 1959, Walt Disney's Darby O'Gill and the Little People is a light-hearted fantasy that gives you a glimpse of a young, pre-Bond Sean Connery. The film is filled with Irish lore and some pretty impressive special effects (for the day). Follow that up with the underrated and overlooked musical Finian's Rainbow. This civil rights minded movie is Fred Astaire's last, and director Francis Ford Coppola's only musical endeavor. (And, it does feature Og, the leprechaun.) You should watch Finian's Rainbow, if for no other reason than to have a look at an early work from the director who went on to make The Godfather films, Apocalypse Now. Happy St. Patrick's Day!