7.1/10
958
25 user 11 critic

Shake Hands with the Devil (1959)

In 1920s Ireland, I.R.A. members are being lead by the war mongering Dr. Sean Lenihan, as they fight oppressive British forces.

Director:

Michael Anderson

Writers:

Rearden Conner (novel), Marian Spitzer (adaptation) (as Marian Thompson) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Cagney ... Sean Lenihan
Don Murray ... Kerry O'Shea
Dana Wynter ... Jennifer Curtis
Glynis Johns ... Kitty Brady
Michael Redgrave ... The General
Sybil Thorndike ... Lady Fitzhugh
Cyril Cusack ... Chris Noonan
Marianne Benet Marianne Benet ... Mary Madigan
John Breslin ... Timmy McGrath
Harry Brogan Harry Brogan ... Tom Cassidy
Robert Brown ... First Sergeant 'Black & Tans'
Lewis Casson Lewis Casson ... Judge
Christopher Casson Christopher Casson ... Brigadier
John Cairney ... Mike O'Callaghan
Harry H. Corbett ... Clancy (as Harry Corbett)
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Storyline

In 1921 Dublin, the IRA battles the "Black & Tans," special British forces given to harsh measures. Irish-American medical student Kerry O'Shea hopes to stay aloof, but saving a wounded friend gets him outlawed, and inexorably drawn into the rebel organization...under his former professor Sean Lenihan, who has "shaken hands with the devil" and begun to think of fighting as an end in itself. Complications arise when Kerry falls for a beautiful English hostage, and the British offer a peace treaty that is not enough to satisfy Lenihan. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They fought like devils...loved like devils...and lived with one foot in hell! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama | History

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Ireland | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 June 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ein Händedruck des Teufels See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kevin Flood, P.G. Stephens, and Jack Cunningham were considered for parts See more »

Goofs

Toward the end of the movie, Jimmy Cagney throws a hand grenade under the British armored car, but the subsequent explosion emanates from inside the vehicle on the upper side, while the undercarriage is completely unscathed. See more »

Connections

Featured in Irish Cinema: Ourselves Alone? (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
simply superb
20 August 2003 | by rupieSee all my reviews

This is without question a superbly well-made film on "The Troubles", back at a time when the IRA was in full bloom. As has been noted here, everything works well - the excellent cinematography (with beautiful vistas of the Irish countryside), a superb cast, great direction, and a richly textured script. All the characters are well drawn and fleshed out. Cagney's work here as the fanatic physician/seditionist is among his best screen portrayals. One suspects at first that the film is going to be an outright paean to the IRA, but as the film progresses, the murderous and fanatic side of their work is made clear, and we are left with a complex and ambiguous picture. I cannot recommend this film highly enough; it is simply not to be missed.


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