..

THE MOLLY MAGUIRES

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Sean Connery, Richard Harris, Samantha Eggar
Director: Martin Ritt
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Studio: Paramount
Features: See Review
Release Date: April 27, 2004

ďIf your making it a choice between getting killed and a little information, well, Iím wanted for shoving the queer.Ē

ďWhat else?Ē

ďThatís a bellyful right there.Ē

Film **

Iím wanted for shoving the queer!  In itís original context, this statement means he was a counterfeiter!  However, I have to admit that my mind went in a completely different direction when I heard those words spoken aloud.  I immediately thought Queer Eye For The Straight Guy meets the WWE!

The Molly Maguires is a pretty straight forward movie:  disgruntled Irish coal miners in the late 1800ís take matters into their own hands because of dangerous work conditions and extremely unfair wages. 

The workers have formed a secret group called the Molly Maguires to get back at the boss men, and make them sit up and take notice.  When things get so bad the men just canít take it anymore, they put a plan in motion.  One example of their resolve happens in the first ten minutes of the film.  The men are being hauled up the mine shaft one group at a time, the last group sets charges and lights extremely long waterproof fuses.  They leave the mine and about five minutes later, KABOOM!!!

The boss men are tired of losing equipment, time, and money.  They find a man whoís used to running the con game, and send him into the mine to find out whoís in charge so they can dispatch these dissidents.

Sean Connery is the leader of the Mollys, and heís a very untrusting sort.  When Richard Harrisí character shows up in the mine, it takes Connery quite a while before he trusts the newbie.  Connery makes him jump through more hoops than a poodle in the circus before he begrudgingly accepts him.

As Harris further insinuates himself into the Mollys, he begins to have reservations about fulfilling his end of the bargain to the mine owners.   Will he give up the hard working men who only want a chance to earn a decent wage, or will he stick by his new friends, and help them take down the man? 

Connery is at his best in this film.  Heís always been (and to some degree, still is) sexy, and the deep burr of his Scottish brogue draws you in, and makes you want to scream, WHEREíS YER KILT, MON?! 

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the late Richard Harris in this film.  He had a very long, and wonderful career.   His abilities as an actor were highlighted by the diverse roles he chose to play.  Whether he was learning about magic from Merlin, while playing the part of King Arthur, or teaching Harry Potter how to wield his mystical powers as the beloved Dumbledore, he brought 100% to each performance. 

This movie has a great story, and wonderful acting throughout.  I really enjoyed watching this DVD and I think if you give it a chance, youíll be singing itís praises, good golly miss Molly!

TRIVIA: Richard Harris, and Sean Connery both took a turn as King Arthur in two separate films.  Harris was a warm, caring, and compassionate Arthur in, Camelot, while Connery took the warrior route with his portrayal of Arthur in First Knight.

Video **

While the video wasnít as clean and crisp as the audio, it still held itís own for a considerably older print.

This DVD was presented in a 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format.  The colors were bright, and there was very little dirt visible.  

The one major problem I had with this print was that even though the colors were bright, they did have a hazy appearance to them.  This graininess seemed to plague the film from beginning to end.  For the time period it was filmed in, I am extremely impressed.  It was a clean print, however the visible graininess detracted from its overall look. 

Audio ***

This DVDís audio was extremely surprising considering its age and the time during which it was filmed.

The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound was extremely clean with no detectable audio flaws.  The levels remained constant throughout, and there were no dips or drop outs in the audio. 

The inspiring part of this DVDís audio for me was the English Restored Mono selection under the setup option.  I enjoyed the 5.1 surround sound option, but the Mono option was just as clean and easy on the ears.  I wish I had been able to hear the original audio before they took the time to restore it, because as clean as this print was, in both the 5.1 and Mono version I have to believe that someone was either paying very close attention to detail when this film was originally recorded, or clean up efforts for DVD releases have taken on a whole new level of importance for studios presenting them. 

Features Ĺ*

Scene selection and audio options for 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround and English Restored Mono are the only extras these Mollys stuck in their boot!

Summary:

The Maguires seemed to have left this discís extra features on the boat.  However, when they landed, they did put their best foot forward audibly, and visually.  This movie is a wonderful blast from the past and despite its lack of features, worth having in your collection if youíre an old movie buff!