I have decided to be festive and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here on Une Cinephile. I am not celebrating in the usual American way by going out and getting drunk off my ass by doing all day pub crawls in either New York or Hoboken. I feel I should celebrate a little bit since I have some Irish blood in me: I am a wonderful fantastic *note sarcasm* mix if Italian, Irish, German, English, and French (I am mostly Italian with an Italian last name so it is just easier for me to say I am that nationality. No, I am not tan with dark hair I am butt white with blue eyes and brown hair. Yes, I am very much prone to having a bad temper every now and then).
My way of celebrating St. Pat’s is by watching the 1935 film The Irish in Us with James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, and Pat O’Brien.
The brothers O’Hara- Pat (Pat O’Brien), Mike, and Danny (James Cagney)- still live with their mother who has kept them very comfortable all their lives to the point where they still act like they are all under ten years old. The two oldest still share a room while Danny who is the baby gets his own room. Each brother has a job- Pat is police officer, Mike is a fire fighter and Danny, well, he manages boxers. His last few fighters did not do well but that does not stop him from finding new guys to manage.
One morning Pat tells his mother and brothers that he is planning on marrying a girl named Lucille (Olivia de Havilland) he has only known for two months. He has not asked her to marry him yet but he is planning on it and wants the family to meet her. He plans to bring her over for dinner that night and wants everything to go smoothly which means Ma has to teach Mike how eat right and act like a gentleman. At work he asks Lucille to come over for dinner and she accepts the invitation.
Danny begins training a new fighter named Carl. While on a run they see a car on the side of the road with a lady under it and thinking that she has had an accident they run over to help her. When they pull the girl out it turns out to be Lucille but Danny does not know who she is yet. There is a little spark between Danny and Lucille even though they just met even though Danny was barely a gentleman with her.
Nothing really goes right for Pat that night. Danny told his mother he was taking Pat’s suit to the cleaners when really he let Carl borrow it so now Pat does not have a suit he has to get back into his police uniform. He runs around in his undershirt and boxers with his coat on over them when Lucille gets to the house. As Pat gets himself together Ma lets slip to Lucille that Pat is planning on asking her to marry him. Lucille tells Ma that she does not like Pat in that way. The dinner does not go to plan at all especially when Danny comes back with Carl. They tell Pat that they already met Lucille when they helped her with her car so nothing bad there until Carl hears a bell and thinks he is in the ring and starts throwing punches. One of the punches knocks Pat out. Danny takes Lucille home and on the way they stop for dinner and chat.
The next night is the Fireman’s Ball and the whole O’Hara family goes. Lucille goes as well and dances with all the brothers. She and Danny go out on the balcony and talk. She tells him that it is he who she really loves not Pat and he says he loves her too. They kiss and of course Pat happens to see them in the act. When he gets home Pat wants to move out he is so upset with his brother. When Danny comes home he tells Pat and Ma that he will move out since it is his fault and Pat is the one who brings the money home.
Danny spends his time training Carl for a big fight. In the mean time Lucille is very upset that she broke up the O’Hara home she feels terrible that Danny and Pat are fighting over her. She goes to Danny and says that she does not love him either. Then Lucille pays a visit to Ma and tells her she really does love Danny. Ma is very happy and not upset at all over what has happened.
James Cagney is the star so it is no surprise that he makes up with the brother and gets the girl in the end.
The whole cast was very good. James Cagney was good at playing the tough guy with a soft spot. He was so believable as the son who is sweet and does whatever makes him happy. Olivia de Havilland was eighteen years old when she made this film and nineteen when it was released. Before this film she had made a Midsummer Night’s Dream which is technically her first film but it was released after this one. It is incredible to think that de Havilland was eighteen she just had so much talent that it seems like she had been acting in films for years already not months. De Havilland looks adorable and has some of the best clothes I have seen in a film from the 1930s, her hats were the best I want them all!! Pat O’Brien is considered one of the best actors of classic Hollywood, I want to know who originated this idea because I did not like him at all. He like yelled his lines and his voice was annoying. Mary Gordon as Ma O’Hara was the best she was so tough and funny. You can see that her boys loved and respected her but at the same time she scared them… much like my mom only she is full Italian.
Since this film was made in 1935 the Irish are portrayed as having flaring tempers and very family oriented not the stereotypical drunken Irish bastards we usually see in movies and TV shows today. I have some of those drunken Irish bastards in my dad’s family and they can be very entertaining haha. When they are not drinking they are exactly like the O’Haras tough but loving and big babies like Pat, Mike, and Danny!!
The Irish in Us is a good film. The acting by James Cagney and Olivia de Havilland is the best part of the film along with the character of Ma O’Hara. The story of the main guy getting another guy’s girl is nothing new but the characters add a little something different. The film is available to view on Youtube, it is not available on VHS or DVD.