Written by Brendan Behan, The Quare Fellow takes place in Mountjoy prison during the early ‘s. We follow the events that unfold during the hours before an. The Quare Fellow, play in three acts by Brendan Behan, performed in and published in A tragicomedy concerning the reactions of jailers and. Complete summary of Brendan Behan’s The Quare Fellow. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Quare Fellow.

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Kathy comes home

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The Quare Fellow

Sign Out My Profile. Login with Social Account: Or, use your email account: Not a TCM Member? For security reasons your password needs to be changed Enter your current password: Choose a new password: Please Sign In again, to make changes to your account. Login with your social network: Began Account Learn More. To ffellow the verification email, please enter your email address and click Submit. Writer director Arthur Dreifuss made a rare foray into A productions with the prison drama The Quare Fellowadapted from Brendan Behan’s first play.


Kathy Burke on directing Brendan Behan’s The Quare Fellow | Stage | The Guardian

Although he and co-writer Jacqueline Sundstrom made some significant changes to the original, The Quare Fellow remains a fascinating look at life in a Dublin prison and hte one of Patrick McGoohan’s best leading performances. Behan’s play had become an international sensation when produced by Joan Littlewood’s improvisational Theatre Workshop in It told of berndan reactions among convicts in an Irish prison to the arrival of a “quare fellow,” an unseen prisoner condemned to death for a crime never discussed, though it clearly is an object of disgust to the other men.

With its claustrophobic atmosphere and liberal use of Irish slang and folk music, the play captivated audiences and launched Behan on his brilliant tue tragically short career. He turned the production over to Arthur Dreifuss, a German-born director who had spent most of his career in Hollywood directing and occasionally writing B movies like Eadie Was a Lady [], with Ann Miller, and Boston Blackie’s Rendezvous [].

In adapting the play, Dreifuss and Sundstrom turned Behan’s rollicking folk drama into a social-problem film focusing on the evils of quwre punishment. Fe,low they kept much of his prison atmosphere and, as in the play, kept the main convicted prisoner unseen, he opened the story up with scenes set outside the prison and shifted the focus from the ensemble to a new prison guard McGoohan who starts out believing in capital punishment and, through his involvement in the quare fellow’s case, comes to change his views.

The most extreme changes, however, related to the condemned man’s crime, which is clearly defined as a murder committed in a moment of passion.

To accommodate that change, Dreifuss added a female lead to the all-male play, casting popular film star Sylvia Syms as the brhan man’s bitter, hard-drinking wife whose involvement with McGoohan could bring out a secret capable of changing the man’s sentence.


Adding to that atmosphere was Peter Hennessey’s stark black-and-white cinematography. The film’s greatest asset, however, was McGoohan’s performance in the leading role. McGoohan was working extensively in film and television and on stage at the time, and had won a British Academy Award for his television work in He also had spent a year in the popular British series Danger Manwhich would be revived in and sold in U.

His role as Crimmin in The Quare Fellow was a distinct change of pace from feolow stage typecasting as angry young men and his usual film roles as fiery troublemakers.

Also, the role of a farm-raised Irishman allowed him to draw on his roots in rural Ireland although he had been born in the U. S, with many critics hailing its sense of atmosphere, McGoohan’s performance and the work of the supporting cast. The film’s only drawback, in the eyes of many critics, was the unnecessary and poorly rendered supporting performance by Sylvia Syms.

Nonetheless, the film did not move Dreifuss permanently into top productions. He would soon return to work with Katzman, directing exploitation fare such as Riot on Sunset Strip [] until his retirement in McGoohan, however, would continue building his career with the second run of Danger Man and the cult television hit The Prisoner.

Peter Hennessy Art Direction: Alexander Faris Principal Cast: Flyn frllow, Norman Rodway Lavery. Also Playing on TCM. Kathryn Grayson – Tuesdays in January. Sword and Sandal – Thursdays in January.

The Quare Fellow: A Comedy-Drama

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