Released – May, 1935
Directed By – John Ford
Starring – Victor McLaglen (Gypo Nolan), Heather Angel (Mary McPhilip), Preston Foster (Dan Gallagher), Margot Grahame (Katie Madden), Wallace Ford (Frankie McPhilip), Una O’Connor (Mrs. McPhilip).
Description – The 1922 Irish War of Independence is tearing the country apart. In Dublin, Gypo Nolan is a brute of a man who has been kicked out of the rebel movement and, along with his prostitute girlfriend Katie Madden, is on the verge of starving.
While walking the streets of Dublin, Gypo sees a “wanted for murder” poster offering a reward of 20 pounds for information aiding the capture of Gypo’s best friend and rebel Frankie McPhilip. After being insulted by Katie regarding their poverty, and knowing of her wishes to go to America, Gypo’s loyalty to his friend begins to weaken.
Gypo goes to the headquarters of the British Army and reveals that Frankie is at the home of his mother. The arrest goes badly, and Frankie is killed before both is mother and sister. Gypo is given the 20 pounds reward and heads for a pub.
At the pub, he tells Katie that he has gotten the money from robbing a drunken American sailor. Gypo attends Frankie’s funeral and rouses the suspicion of members of the Irish rebel army with the money in his pockets and by his defensive behavior.
The rebels take Gypo to see Dan Gallagher, the commander of their forces, who tells Gypo that if he knows who the informer is, and tells them, he will again be allowed to join in with them. Fearing for himself, Gypo claims that the informer is tailor Pat Mulligan and invents a motive to go along with his claim.
Meanwhile, Dan Gallagher speaks with Frankie’s sister Mary and learns that Gypo had been with her brother the night of his death. Further conversation with a stunned Pat Mulligan over Gypo’s allegation cause Dan and the rebels to turn their attention right back to Gypo.
NOTABLE: The Informer won four Academy Awards for Best Director (John Ford), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Victor McLaglen), Best Writing, Screenplay, and Best Music, Score. The motion picture was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Film Editing.
In a little bit of trickery, director John Ford told Victor McLaglen on the day before a critical scene regarding his characters trial to take the day off and relax. McLaglen did, and just as Ford expected, spent the day drinking. The next day he had to film the trial scene with a hangover, just the effect Ford wanted for the scene.
Dudley Nichols, who wrote the film is six days and won the Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay, became the first person to refuse an Oscar citing Union reasons.
A presentation script copy for The Informer was found on a garbage pile in Madison, Wisconsin. The copy was brought to the television program Antiques Roadshow and appraised with a value of $4,000.
Initially, the film was a box office failure. However, after garnering four Oscars, The Informer was re-released and earned millions.
The Informer is director Samuel Fuller’s favorite film.