Ryan's Daughter.

As part of my homework for next year's tour,  Knit Ireland, I rewatched David Lean's Ryan's Daughter last night.  It was shot on location in several of the places we'll be visiting such as Inch Beach, Dingle town and the Cliffs of Moher. Based on Flaubert's Madame Bovary, this is an epic in the same mould as Lean's previous blockbusters, Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, but in my opinion over long and indulgent and it fell far short of my expectations.   

I found myself irritated by how it constantly portrayed the Irish in a very bad light. There was hardly a likeable character amongst the major players, in fact the only one was the priest, the rest were depicted as cruel ignorant peasants, an adulteress, a village idiot and a traitor who was willing to sacrifice his only daughter. 

My experience of Irish hospitality was totally different when I visited in August.  In one family-run hotel, on commenting how delicious the potato cakes were at breakfast time, I was taken to the kitchen and given the recipe, along with several other family favourites - just one of many kindnesses I received as I travelled around.

However, I did love the splendid photography celebrating the dramatic landscapes and weather.  Also the film did the local economy a world of good bringing more than £1m to the area in 1969.   A whole village was specially built, so creating many jobs, though as it was dismantled after filming there's scarcely anything to be seen of it now.  You can view the beginning and end here, then if you think it's worth it, the entire three and a quarter hours is on YouTube.


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