The Gentle Gunman was directed by Basil Dearden, and adapted by Roger Macdougall from his own play about the activities of a group of IRA men in London in 1941. The theme is the issue of violence as a means of achieving an ideal. Somehow the events of the more recent past make it difficult to be truly objective about the film. Its attitudes appear to be far too glib and unconvincingly examined to represent any profound statement on the Irish situation. Although the action scenes have a certain excitement, much of the film is stagey and plodding.
The naivety of the overall message, is based upon John Mills weariness of the constant violence. He begins to preach a philosophy of peaceful persuasion, and refuses direct orders to blow up a London railway station. The gunman’s impatient brother find his sibling’s new approach to be counterproductive to the movement. The rest of the IRA agrees, and soon the gentle gunman is branded a traitor and a price is placed on his head. can be persuaded to give up their violent calling if something decent enough happens, is but one of the many artificial touches that compound the failure of the film. —Britmovie.co.uk
Basil Dearden (born Basil Clive Dear; 1 January 1911 – 23 March 1971) was an English film director.
Dearden was born at Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. He graduated from theatre direction to film, working as an assistant to Basil Dean. He later changed his own name to Dearden to avoid confusion with his mentor.
He first began working as a director at Ealing Studios, co-directing comedy films with Will Hay, including The Goose Steps Out (1942) and My Learned Friend (1943). He worked on the influential chiller compendium Dead of Night (1945) and directed the linking narrative and the “Hearse Driver” segment. He also directed The Captive Heart starring Michael Redgrave, a 1946 British war drama, produced by Ealing Studios. The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival. The Blue Lamp (1950), probably the most frequently shown of Dearden’s Ealing films, is a police drama which first introduced audiences to PC George Dixon, later resurrected for the long-running Dixon of… read more