03 September 2005

Movie based on Collins' life to premiere at festival

Irish Independent

'BELOVED Enemy', the 1936 feature film based on the life of Michael Collins and recently restored by the Irish Film Archive, is to be premiered at the 50th Cork Film Festival in October.

Made by legendary Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn, the 86-minute feature stars Merle Oberon as the daughter of a British diplomat in Ireland in 1921, Brian Ahearne as a fictionalised version of Collins and David Niven as a British army officer.

"In the year that Cork City, birthplace of Michael Collins, holds the mantle of European Capital of Culture, it is fitting that local audiences will have the first opportunity to see the restored version of this rare film," Kasandra O' Connell, head of the Irish Film Archive, said.

The film is a love story which romanticises the events that led up to to the signing of the treaty with the British.

Although other copies of the film exist, this is the only known surviving copy to feature the unhappy ending where the hero dies. In the 1930s the film was considered too downbeat for Hollywood audiences and went on general release with a more uplifting ending.

This rare print was originally discovered at the Limerick Film Archive and its restoration by the Irish Film Archive was funded by the Heritage Council's Museum and Archive fund.

Following its Cork showing, 'Beloved Enemy' will be screened at the Irish Film Institute on November 16.

Philip Molloy

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