Rare Collins film to screen at 50th Cork Film Festival
'Beloved Enemy' a 1936 film based on the life of Michael Collins
and recently restored by the Irish Film Archive is to premiere at
the 50th Cork Film Festival which takes place in Cork from 9th until
16th October, 2005.
Made by Hollywood legend Samuel Goldwyn, the film stars the Oscar-nominated
actors Merle Oberon, one of the biggest names of the 1930s and 40s,
Brian Ahearne and British actor David Niven. "Beloved Enemy"
is a fictional love story set against the War of Independence in
Ireland and is based on the alleged love affair between Collins
and Lady Lavery.
"In the year that Cork City, birthplace of Michael Collins, hosts
the mantle of European Capital of Culture, it is fitting that Cork
audiences will have the first opportunity to see the restored version
of this rare film" said Kasandra O' Connell, Head of the Irish Film
The film outlines how far people will go to pursue true love despite
the consequences their actions may bring. In 'Beloved Enemy' Helen
Drummond, daughter of a senior British Diplomat falls in love with
the IRA leader Denis Riordan who is fighting for Irish independence.
As England is on the verge of a complete military crackdown, Helen
persuades Denis that the signing of a peace treaty is preferable
than the all-out war which will arise if the treaty is rejected.
However by agreeing to the treaty, Denis Riordan signs his own
death warrant as Riordan's former comrades believe he has betrayed
them. The film ends tragically with Riordan dying in Helen's arms
after he is shot while passionately delivering a pro-treaty speech.
Even though other copies of the film exist, this is the only known
surviving copy to feature the unhappy ending where the hero dies.
The film was considered too downbeat for Hollywood audiences and
went on general release with a more uplifting ending.
Mick Hannigan, Director of the Cork Film Festival said
"We are delighted to collaborate with the Irish Film Archive and
the Limerick Film Archive in presenting this unique and historic
screening at the 50th anniversary edition of the festival. Anyone
interested in Irish history or in the cinematic depiction of that
history will be fascinated by this film."
This rare print was originally discovered by Declan McLoughlin
of the Limerick Film Archive and its restoration was funded by the
Heritage CouncilŐs Museum and Archive fund. Beloved Enemy will be
subsequently screened at the Irish Film Institute on 16th of November,
The Irish Film Archive based at the Irish Film Institute in Temple
Bar holds the largest collection of Irish film and related materials
in the world with a collection covering the period 1897 to the present