The Informer (1935) Director: John Ford
The Informer was one of the biggest films of 1935. It is a suspenseful, almost noir-styled, RKO film. It takes place during the Irish War of Independence in the 1920s, based on the novel of the same name by Liam O’Flaherty. It was nominated for 8 Academy Awards and won several, including Best Actor and Best Director.
It tells the story of Gypo Nolan, a dim-witted and recent ex-IRA member, who is distraught as he is poor and he catches street girlfriend trying to pick up a John on the streets for money. She complains that she does not have enough to pay for the trip to America to start over. All she needs is 10 pounds. Gypo later runs into his friend, Frankie McPhillip, a known and wanted murderer. Frankie is on his way home to visit, as he is tired of living in hiding. Gypo decides to turn him into the policy for 20 pounds, enough so both he and his girlfriend can go to America. The police close in on Frankie and kill him in a gunfight. Eventually the other IRA members find out it was Gypo who was the informant, and they take him to their court and imprison him, but Gypo escapes through a hole and is shot but he goes to beg for forgiveness to Frankie’s mother in a church. When she forgives him, Gypo dies at peace on the floor of the church.
The Informer is a great psychological thriller about the paranoid betrayal of a killer as we follow him through the foggy, noir-like streets of Dublin, Ireland. It is one of the first great films of John Ford, and has many nods to the earlier German Expressionist movement of the silent era.