General John Regan (1933) filmed in Hilltown
Can anyone give me any information on the following film.
General John Regan (1933) was filmed in Hilltown and starred
Henry Edwards as Dr O Grady. Also I am trying to get hold
of a copy of the film.
The title character of this comedy is nonexistent - at least
in the story itself. General John Regan figures into a jovial
conspiracy between American visitor and local doctor. As a
joke, the visitor and the doctor fabricate a story about the
liberation of Bolivia. It is their contention that a mild-mannered
villager is in fact the legendary liberator General Regan.
It goes without saying that the gag gets out of hand, but
we'll say it anyway.
George A. Birmingham (play)
Genre: Comedy (more)
Henry Edwards .... Dr. O'Grady
Chrissie White .... Moya Kent
Ben Welden .... Billing
Pegeen Mair .... Mary Ellen
David Horne .... Major Kent
W.G. Fay .... Golligher
Fred O'Donovan .... Doyle
Denis O'Neil .... Kerrigan
Eugene Leahy .... Sergeant Colgan
George Callaghan .... Moriarty
Mary O'Farrell .... Mrs. Gregg
Runtime: 74 min
Color: Black and White
Sound Mix: Mono
Brede White - Mar '07
Dear Louisa, I was very interested to read your item on the
Hilltown film. Unfortunately I do not have anything to offer
you regarding it, but I was delighted to see a name I recognised.
You mention your aunt Moya Blackburn. I believe she was a
friend of my mothers, May O'Neill, whose parents Laurence
and Mary O'Neill owned a shop/pub in Hilltown from around
1903-1930. I have often heard your aunts name mentioned over
the years, and would be very interested in seeing the photo's
you mentioned at the Downshire Arm's. I have recently come
across a good number of old family photo's taken in Hilltown
which include many friends of my mothers and her siblings,
and wonder if your aunt is among them. I would be happy to
let you have some if you would like them. I'm researching
my family tree at present and needless to say would appreciate
any photo's or information on Hilltown relating the the time
period mentioned above, so if you have anything you think
might be of use I would be very g!
rateful. That includes, of course, the film if you manage
to get your hands on a copy. It would be lovely to see some
film footage of Hilltown, and perhaps some familier faces
amongst the extras, so hope you are successful in your search.
I would be happy to pay for any pictures you can provide me
with. I look forward to hearing from you. Best regards, Brede
James Macdonald - Feb '07
Most interesting. Had I been choosing a book of George A Birmingham
to film Spanish Gold would have come to mind first - all
his talents reached their high points together in Spanish
Gold. And even at this date well worth considering.
Louisa Blackburn - Aug '06
I have read the book General John Regan recently. It is
well worth reading, very funny. I can imagine it as a play
and as a film too. I just wish we could find this film and
show it to the people of Ireland. I have managed to buy the "stills"
of the film and the actors appear quite sophisticated, the
way they are dressed etc. They are lovely photographs. As
the story is centered around an hotel I am sure the Downshire
Arms is featured in the film.
So once again if anyone can think of some way to find this
film, that has not already been tried, so that it can come
home to us and be put into our archives as it should be, please
let me know.
Louisa Blackburn - Aug '06
George A.Birmingham was the pen name of the Rev. Owen Hannay.
He was born in Belfast and wrote the book on which the play
and later the film were based. There were three film attempts
made. One in 1921 and another in 1933 and another one in the
forties. The one we are trying to trace was made in 1933.
George A. Birmingham was a prolific writer and wrote many
interesting books and articles. There is an exhibition taking
place in the Linen Hall Library on the 6th to the 26th September
of all writers born in the province and he is among them.
The film crew stayed at the Downshire Arms Hotel in Hilltown.
It was owned at that time by my grandparents Joseph and Louisa
Blackburn. I have two photographs taken at the time the film
crew stayed there. One showing my grandmother and father and
his sister Moya and the second one of the film crew sitting
in a Hudson car outside the Hotel. There is also a Sunbeam
car in the photograph.
Louisa Blackburn - Aug '06
The film General John Regan was based on a book by George
A.Birmingham which was a pen name for the Rev. James Owen
Hannay who was born in the Knock area of Belfast around the
late 1800s. He was a prolific writer. There was one play and
three films made of the book called General John Regan. The
one made in 1933 was made in Hilltown County down. The film
crew stayed at the Downshire Arms Hotel which at that time
was owned by my Grandparents, Joseph and Louisa Blackburn.
I have two large photographs taken outside the Downshire Arms
Hotel, one with my Grandmother and Father and my Aunt Moya
and one of the film crew all sitting in or on an American
car called a Hudson.There is another car in the picture called
The actors in the film are very well known. The producer of
the film was married to Anna Neagle whom some people may remember,
his name was Herbert Wilcox.
Henry Edwards acted in it along with others who were born
in Ireland so it has a strong Irish connection. I am sure
some local people would have been in the film as extras...We
are trying to find this film in order to give people a chance
to view a piece of history made on their doorstep as it were.
This could have been the first movie made in Ireland, before
John Wayne and the Quiet Man, sorry dear John, you were not
So if anyone has any ideas where to look for this film, I
would be most pleased. So far I have written many letters
and made many phone calls but to no avail.
Most of the rev James Owen Hannay's letters and manuscripts
are in Trinity College Dublin. These were donated by a relative
living in America in the fifties. Quite a few of his books
are in the Linen Hall Library where there is going to be an
exhibition from the 6th to the 26th September.