The Playboys Review

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Choosing to live as a single mother, instead of getting married has left Tara (Wright) being outcast as the sinner of the village. It's not that she's short of offers it's just that she's not fussed about her options. But one day a young man (Quinn) arrives at the village and it's not long before Tara has changed her mind on being single.


Shane Connaughton and Kerry Crabbe’s tale of love, jealousy, sin and high spirits in a small Irish village in the 50s covers ground pretty well trod before, but it is nicely told. Unmarried mother Tara (Wright) is the scandal of the village, her sin compounded by her refusal to name the father or accept offers of marriage from two respectable men: Police Sergeant Hegerty (Finney) and farmer Mick (Adrian Dunbar). Tara’s content to manage quite well for herself without the local boors, until vagabonde charmer Tom (Quinn) happens along and perks her up no end.

Finney is arguably too old for his role but undeniably the ace in this pack, wrenching as a man obsessed by his unrequited love, and his fight for possession of Tara evokes the same blood lust as that for a plot of land in The Field. Quinn’s intruder is, comparatively, lacklustre, but the stunning Wright is something of a revelation as the fiercely independent village swan.

There are good touches of colour here, notably in flamboyant Milo O’Shea and his comapny of disreputable travelling players, The Playboys, whose lamentable staging of Othello is none-too-subtly paralleled with Hegerty’s jealous rage on discovering Tara’s handkerchief at the scene of hanky panky. Meanwhile the villagers behave throughout like a good provincial audience, observing and commenting on everything with cinematically traditional Irishness. “IRA? Nobody from this district. The boys around here couldn’t blow up a balloon.”

With strong, if in the case of Finney, miscast performances except for Quinn who is a bit too wimp-ish to really be worth Tara's time. An interesting plot with a few nods to Othello that are handled in an admirable way. Not amazing but watchable.