Story is an account of the Irish rebellion in 1916, a sanguinary outburst which failed of its purpose because the people were divided in allegiance, many Irish at the time fighting in France. It depicts the Irish character in various shadings of comedy, tragedy, sacrifice, selfishness and stupidity.
So many changes have been made in adapting this Sean O’Casey play to the screen that the tragic original has been modified into a romantic melodrama. Primarily the screen version is a woman’s starring picture calling for an actress of considerably more gifts than Barbara Stanwyck here possesses. The altered story is the familiar theme that the men do the fighting and the women the weeping.
The opening shows the struggle and grief in a young bride’s heart when her husband is selected by the citizen army to be the commandant of the fighting forces in Dublin. She has no interest in the uprising to free Ireland. Her world is her home.
These Irish boys are good looking, earnest and sincere. They take a tough licking but they’re not quitters. Sympathy therefore is with the lads, which is one of the reasons Stanwyck has such a hard time holding up her end of the story.
In between there is humor and amusing characterization. Barry Fitzgerald has a joyful time in the role of Fluther, an Irish braggart. He is teamed with J.M. Kerrigan who is up to his usual high standard.
Preston Foster, opposite Stanwyck, fits nicely and his brogue comes easily. Only Stanwyck, of the entire cast, does not go Irish.