History is rife with famous independence based revolutions inside Europe and outside Europe from their European masters. Rather that be the French war of Independence from the French Monarchy, or the American War of Independence from the British Monarchy…
A currently more or less popular revolution that albeit at one point was extremely violent but has become more or less peaceful over the last decade or 2 is Northern Ireland’s (or more directly the IRAs) fight for independence from the British Empire…
With that in mind, I found it rather fascinating recently when I came to discover a little film that in some small ways romanticized the mystique of what the IRA was trying to achieve during the 1970s, yet starred two Americans and one British Actor! What is this movie? The movie is actually a very fun (And completely fictitious) film called Hennessy with Rod Steiger (PoolHall Junkies), Lee Remick (The Omen) and Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
One reason that I actually really did find that was interesting about this movie that I thought that I would mention here is that, I found that the old adage of nothing brings 2 enemies together like a common threat is excellently portrayed in this film. But we’ll get in to that in a sec…
Written by: John Gay (Fatal Vision) and Directed by: Don Sharp (Psychomania) and starring Rod Steiger, Lee Remick, Richard Johnson (Zombie) and Eric Porter (The Day Of the Jackal)
Hennessy, which is based in a time when the IRA, along with a lot of folks in Ireland had turned to violence to oust the British Empire’s hold on Northern Ireland…
In this case though the story for Hennessy tells the story of a man by the name of Niall Hennessey (Steiger). Hennessey is a man who despite having IRA connection pretty much only desires peace for himself and peace for his family as well as peace for his country as well (A peace achieved by non violent protest that is.)
This is true until one day when during a particularly violent clash between Irish youth and British soldiers gets out of hand, when one of the British Soldiers whom after he gets hit in the head by one of the rocks that are thrown by the youth ends up firing his machine gun wildly in a dazed and confused state… The soldier hits several youth but also ends up killing Hennessy’s wife and daughter!
Now of course during this time Tobin (Porter), A cell leader for one of the IRA’s cells, and one of Niall Hennessy’s friends, takes action against the soldier by shooting him in the head with a high powered rifle…
While all of this is going down, Hennessy is on his way to meet with his wife and daughter who had been at a Doctor’s office nearby. When he sees this going down, a piece of him dies inside, and the next day after the murder, and after staying the night with Tobin and his IRA cell, Hennessy decides to hop a plane to London!
Now of course this confuses and is concerning to Tobin who is fearful that Hennessy might ultimately be heading to London to do something rash in revenge for the murder of his wife and daughter, especially after he finds out that before Hennessy left that he had actually called the local paper to find out when Britain’s Parliament was going to be meeting next, and then books a ticket to London… This of course prompt Tobin to put his cell to work finding out what Hennessy is up to!
With that said, when Hennessy makes it to London he begins to enact his plan to blow himself up as well as the British Parliament during a time when not only is Parliament in session, but that an address by the royal family at Parliament is supposed to happen the same day that Hennessy is planning on sacrificing himself in revenge against the government that killed his family!
Now it is not only up to Tobin and his IRA cell along with Scotland Yard and Inspector Hollis (Johnson) to find out what Hennessy is planning, but it is also up to them to stop Hennessy from sacrificing himself for love, and becoming the biggest criminal in British history!
With that said, what I like about this movie and what I feel makes this a truly awesome B movie is:
1. We all know who Patrick Stewart is, I mean he is Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation! If your a fan of Star Trek like I am, then he is probably most notable for that role… As a matter of fact, I first got introduced to Patrick Stewart and his work through Star Trek. Now I have seen Patrick Stewart in other roles, such as The X-Men franchise as well as others! So it was a great joy for me to see a younger Patrick Stewart playing an IRA thug in this movie!
2. The other 2 that I felt were particularly notable were Lee Remick and Rod Steiger… Some times foreign born actors in movies can’t pull off the accents of the the nation that the movies are based in, and some people don’t even try! In this case I thought that both Lee Remick and Rod Steiger (Who are both American’s pulled off the job rather quite well!)
3. I also wanted to give special mention to the rest of the cast of this film, because I thought everyone from Richard Johnson’s portrayal as a Special Branch Officer on the edge to Hugh Moxey’s portrayal as the M.P. Burgess was extremely well acted and very believeable!
4. Another thing that I found to be fun despite being some what accidental is that scenes that have the real Royal Family in them!
With that said, if your looking for a fun edge of your seat thriller, that has more to do with the planning of the act and less with the actual commission of the crime, then I highly recommend checking out Hennessy! It is a fun one!
Unfortunately there is no trailer for this movie but I thought that you might enjoy the star of this film, the late great Rod Steiger’s take on acting.