Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Prepare for St. Patrick's Day with 'Hangman's House' (1928), drama set in Ireland, screening 3/15 at Flying Monkey in Plymouth, N.H.

The dogs are big in John Ford's 'Hangman's House' (1928).

St. Patrick's Day is nearly upon us! Movie lovers, let's celebrate with a vintage drama set in Ireland and directed by John Ford, and with John Wayne in it.

It's 'The Quiet Man' (1952), right? 


It's 'Hangman's House' (1928), a much earlier movie directed by Ford released near the end of the silent era. I'll be accompanying the picture tonight (Wednesday, March 15) at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center in Plymouth, N.H.

Showtime is 6:30 p.m. More details in the press release pasted in below.

Although John Wayne appears in it, he's not the star. Instead, Victor McLaglen leads an ensemble cast.

But 'Hangman's House' is the first film in which Wayne can be spotted in a prominent cameo—in a scene where he gets so excited watching a horse race, he leads a group of villages in tearing down a fence.

Quite a contrast to the character that movie-goers would see a quarter-century later in 'The Quiet Man'!

Hope you're done shoveling in time to head to Plymouth to take in this rarely screened John Ford silent set in the Emerald Isle.

Sure'n it'll put you in the mood for all the green beer to come later this week!

*   *   *

A vintage poster promoting 'Hangman's House' (1928).

For more info, contact: Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 •

Silent drama 'Hangman's House' with live music at Flying Monkey on Wednesday, 3/15

Early John Ford horse-racing story set in Ireland; features prominent cameo by very young John Wayne

PLYMOUTH, N.H.—The silent film era returns to the big screen at the Flying Monkey with a showing of 'Hangman's House' (1928), a classic John Ford-directed silent drama accompanied by live music.

Showtime is Wednesday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center, 39 South Main St., Plymouth, N.H. Admission is $10 per person.

The screening, the latest in the Flying Monkey's silent film series, will feature live accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based composer who specializes in creating scores for silent films.

Set in Ireland, 'Hangman's House' follows wanted man Denis Hogan (Victor McLaglen) who returns in disguise to his Irish homeland to seek revenge.

Once back, he becomes embroiled in an intense romantic drama involving a local judge (Hobart Bosworth), his daughter (June Collyer), a forced marriage and surprising revelations about his own sister.

A vintage lobby card from 'Hangman's House' (1928).

The film is highlighted by a high-stakes horse race. Among the spectators is a very young John Wayne, clearly visible as an extra who gets so excited he single-handedly destroys a fence.

The story culminates in a spectacular fire sequence that mesmerized the film's original audiences and still maintains its power today.

'Hangman's House' is praised for taut story-telling and evocative camerawork. Ford returned to Ireland as a setting in his later film 'The Quiet Man' (1952), this time starring John Wayne.

Later in his career, Ford would win a total of four Academy Awards for 'Best Director,' a record that stands to this day.

Accompanist Jeff Rapsis will improvise an original musical score for 'Hangman's House' live as the film is shown.

"When the score gets made up on the spot, it creates a special energy that's an important part of the silent film experience," said Rapsis, who uses a digital synthesizer to recreate the texture of a full orchestra for the accompaniment.

Upcoming titles in the Flying Monkey's silent film series include:

• Wednesday, April 12, 6:30 p.m.: 'The Ten Commandments' (1923). Long before Charlton Heston played Moses in Technicolor, director Cecil B. DeMille filmed this silent blockbuster on a grand scale.

• Wednesday, May 10, 6:30 p.m.: 'Girl Shy' (1924) starring Harold Lloyd. Join us for the original rom-com featuring an unforgettable race-to-the-church finish.

• Wednesday, June 7, 6:30 p.m.: '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' (1916). Early version of the classic Jules Verne tale, with a few other stories mixed in. Feature film that pioneered underwater photography techniques.

• Wednesday, July 19, 6:30 p.m.: 'The General' (1927) Buster Keaton's Civil War-era masterpiece tells the story of a Confederate railroad engineer whose train is hijacked by Northern spies. One of the great films of any era!

• Wednesday, Aug. 30, 6:30 p.m.: 'My Best Girl' (1927) starring Mary Pickford. In a big city department store, what happens when romance blossoms between a humble clerk and the store owner's son?

• Wednesday, Sept. 13, 6:30 p.m.: 'Scaramouche' (1923). When a nobleman murders his best friend, a lawyer becomes a revolutionary with his heart set on vengeance. Swashbuckler based on best-selling novel by Rafael Sabatini.

• Wednesday, Oct. 18, 6:30 p.m.: Lon Chaney creepy double feature. Just in time for Halloween. In 'The Unknown' (1927), Chaney plays "Alonzo the Armless," a circus knife thrower who uses his feet; in 'West of Zanzibar' (1928), Chaney plays a vaudeville magician who loses use of his legs in an accident and journeys to Africa to seek revenge.

• Wednesday, Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m.: 'The Three Musketeers' (1921) starring Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Original screen adaptation that set the bar for future versions of the famous story, as well as the swashbuckler genre itself.

‘Hangman's House’ (1928), a classic silent drama directed by John Ford, will be shown with live music on Wednesday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center, 39 Main St., Plymouth, N.H. Admission is $10 per person. For more info, call (603) 536-2551 or visit

 P.S. Is it just me, but isn't the artwork style of the above poster eerily similar to the style of the old Wacky Packages product parody stickers of my youth?

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