Shake Hands with the Devil (1959) torrent download

Shake Hands with the Devil


Action / Drama / History



In 1921 Dublin, the I.R.A. battles the "Black & Tans", special British forces given to harsh measures. Irish-American medical student Kerry O'Shea (Don Murray) hopes to stay aloof, but saving a wounded friend gets him outlawed, and inexorably drawn into the rebel organization under his former professor Dr. Sean Lenihan (James Cagney), who has "shaken hands with the devil" and begun to think of fighting as an end in itself. Complications arise when Kerry falls for a beautiful English hostage, and the British offer a peace treaty that is not enough to satisfy Lenihan. —Rod Crawford


Michael Anderson


James Cagney
as Sean Lenihan
Don Murray
as Kerry O'Shea
Dana Wynter
as Jennifer Curtis
Glynis Johns
as Kitty Brady
Michael Redgrave
as The General
Sybil Thorndike
as Lady Fitzhugh

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer 8 /10

Much better than average Cagney film that actually has something to say

This is one of the very best films from the tail end of Cagney's career. Unlike so many of his previous films, this movie was entertaining AND had something profound to say as well. The film is about IRA terrorists in the early days of the Irish Republic. Instead of being happy with the gains the Irish made, Cagney's character has been fighting so long he's lost track of WHY and is simply hellbent on murder and killing for its own sake. When other members begin calling for restraint, Cagney wants to escalate the killings until eventually he becomes a liability to the organization. While some times Cagney tended to "chew the scenery" at the expense of the film (i.e., he overacted), this movie actually benefited from this style. An excellent and timeless story.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 /10

A Fictionalized telling of a crucial turning point in Irish history.

The politics of Shake Hands With the Devil have been eclipsed by the excellent biographical film Collins that starred Liam Neeson. But the other theme about war, especially endless civil war, is timeless and very relevant for today and not just in Ireland.

The setting is 1921 and the Rebellion is in full swing. James Cagney is a professor of medicine at Trinity College in Dublin by day and an Irish Republican Army commander at night. One of his students, an Irish-American played by Don Murray, gets innocently caught up in the Rebellion and chooses to join the IRA after being captured by the special British unit, nicknamed the Black and Tans who are not terribly squeamish in their methods.

Eventually the British opt for a truce and the General played by Michael Redgrave goes to London to sign a treaty giving Ireland Dominion status. Redgrave of course is Michael Collins and anyone who's seen the film Collins is aware of the politics. Redgrave was a great deal older than the real Michael Collins, then again he had to be in order to say that he's been fighting with Cagney for Irish independence for over 20 years.

Cagney is against the treaty and like he said in the film, the split over that treaty led to a long and bloody Irish Civil war in the 1920s, with far more blood spilled than in the struggle against Great Britain.

Gradually over the film it becomes apparent that Cagney has a lot of issues, violent and sexual. Think Cody Jarrett in the IRA and you'll have some idea. And there's no Ma Jarrett to control him. The tragic and luckless Glynis Johns is a victim of his wrath and Dana Wynter who is an IRA hostage almost becomes one as well. This is where the real acting talents of James Cagney are shown.

Among some of the IRA members in his cell is Richard Harris who got his first real notice in this film.

It's not Irish history per se, but it is a great story of the effects of interminable civil war.

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 7 /10

James Cagney compelling but Don Murray stiff

Irish-American Kerry O'Shea (Don Murray) is studying at the College of Surgeons in 1921 Dublin. He refuses to join the resistance after seeing the futility of war while fighting in the Great War. His professor Sean Lenihan (James Cagney) turns out to be a leader of the IRA. He and his friend Paddy get caught up in an IRA ambush. Paddy is killed and Kerry leaves behind his notebook which has his name. Kerry becomes a wanted man. He still refuses to join the IRA at first but the situation overtakes him.

Don Murray is horribly stiff and his character horribly naive. His story is melodramatic. In fact, there is a lot of old fashion melodramatic acting. I wish this movie is about Lenihan instead but at last, we're stuck with following Don Murray. James Cagney is definitely the more compelling actor and Don Murray pales in comparison. Cagney is brutal and exciting. His character is interesting. The story is a bit too long but it's still compelling enough.

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