Films & Slane

RTE documentary on Slane 1966

A documentary made by RTE around Slane in 1966 can be accessed at the web address below:

Slane as a film location

Over the years the Slane area, with its natural beauty and many castles and monuments, has been chosen to be the location for film production. Many renowned people from the film industry came to Slane. Captain Lightfoot was filmed in and around the castle, Darling Lily along the river between Slane and Beauparc and The Flight of the Doves on the Hill of Slane. These are some that come to mind.

Captain Lightfoot ( 1955)

Captain Lightfoot ( 1955)
Set in Ireland in 1815, this magnificent Technicolor production is full of romance, intrigue, action and adventure. The three principals in the cast, Rock Hudson, Barbara Rush and Jeff Morrow, all shine in this studio vehicle for young star Rock Hudson, who is terrific in the title role, with style, sex appeal, and a good Irish accent (Hudson was full-blood Irish, his real name was Roy Fitzgerald). Jeff Morrow, also an Irishman in real life, was especially good in one of his greatest roles as Captain Thunderbolt, leader of the Irish resistance against the British dragoons, sent to occupy Ireland by the British crown; Morrow had to take lessons to learn how to swordfight from Basil Rathbone. Filmed almost entirely on location in Ireland, this was one of the first Universal pictures to be filmed away from Hollywood. A fine, rousing adventure and a warm, sensitive romance. One of the best films made by the producer-director team of Ross Hunter and Douglas Sirk. Sadly, many Universal pictures of the 1950s and 1960s are still unavailable on home video. Universal should be ashamed of themselves for not releasing this great film on video, and a wide-screen letterbox version on DVD as well. Ay, tis the luck o’ the Irish.

Darling Lily ( 1970 )

Darling Lily ( 1970 )

Paris during WWI. Lili Smith is a German spy. Her latest mission is to get secrets from an allied major, William Larrabee. However, she soon discovers that she has fallen in love with him. There were some old war planes used around the village for this one. The main stars were Julie Andrews and Rock Hudson and it was directed by Blake Edwards.

Considered a huge flop at the time of its release, it’s actually a very good movie and deserves a look, but unfortunately, it’s not yet available on DVD.

The Flight Of the Doves ( 1971 )

Adapted from a book by Walter Macken. In the cast are Ron Moody, Jack Wild, Helen Raye, Dorothy McGuire, William Rushton, Stanley Holloway. Running time: 101 minutes. The Flight of the Doves” is the kind of movie that would make a fortune if it appeared with the Disney name- on it. That’s because people assume that only a Disney film is a good family film. Except that it is clean and is about a couple of charming kids, “Flight of the Doves” has little in common with the average Disney movie. It is much more human, less glossy and offers more surprises. The “Doves” are a couple of kids, brother and sister, played winningly by Jack Wilde (the Artful Dodger of “Oliver” and newcomer Helen Raye, a real scene-stealer. While living with a cruel English stepfather in London, they decide to run away to their Irish grandmother in Galway. Complicating matters is the report of an inheritance to the children from their grandfather. The stepfather claims kidnapping, setting both the English and Irish police in pursuit of the kids. What is worse they have an evil uncle, Hawk Dove (Ron Moody), who will come into the money if the children die. So Hawk, a master of disguise, also is in pursuit of the children. Ron Moody played Fagin in “Oliver” and he hasn’t had a role as good as this since then. Something of an actor’s dream, the role allows him to pop up as a variety of characters, adding both to the humor and the suspense of the film. Suspense and humour along with a good deal of warmth are the qualities of “The Flight of the Doves.” The film was directed by Ralph Nelson and it reflects his best past efforts—notably “Lilies of the Field” and “Charley.” The movie was made entirely in Ireland and most of it is as pretty as a picture postcard. Some of the elements as the kids head north are predictable (mixing into a St. Patrick’s day parade); some are not (finding refuge in a Dublin synagogue); all are fun and most add to the suspense. Not readily available, so catch it if you can on television

There were many concert films made by the musicians at Slane Castle over the last few years, such as U2, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Robbie Williams and Madonna.

An American Television crew filmed an Irish night at Slane Castle some time ago entitled An Irish Holiday Roma Downey, Frank McCourt, Phil Coulter and others Celebrate the Season The special stars some of Ireland’s most beloved performers: actress Roma Downey (“Touched by an Angel”); Moya Brennan (of Clannad); best-selling author Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes); the Celtic Tenors; stars from Riverdance; and many more. In the venerable surroundings of the breathtaking grounds of Slane Castle in Ireland, these celebrated talents come together in a unique and intimate gathering for An Irish Holiday. Composer, performer and reigning king of contemporary Celtic music Phil Coulter and his guests regale one another with traditional stories and anecdotes, entertain with song and dance, and revel in each other’s company. Viewers of An Irish Holiday join Moya Brennan (a member of Clannad), Maura O’Connell (seen in Gangs of New York), Brian Kennedy (Get on With Your Short Life) and Jean Butler (Riverdance) in a selection of seasonal Irish songs; rejoice in the spiritual splendor of the Celtic Tenors as they sing a special arrangement of “Adeste Fideles” and “Danny Boy”; thrill to the a capella precision and beauty of the Voice Squad, Ireland’s premier traditional vocal group; and delight in Roma Downey’s interpretation of a holiday Irish blessing.

An Irish-Dutch co-production was filmed at Duleek House, called ‘Morlang’

‘Morlang’ is a chilling psychological contemporary drama about the effects of jealousy, betrayal and revenge. The film is inspired by a real-life episode that took place in Holland in the 1970s, known as the Van Bemmelen Affair.A Dutch couple facing a dilemma in their lives made a public statement that they were going to take drastic actions. One of the partners was less than certain that this drastic plan was the route to take. Several weeks later they carried out their plan, but at the last moment one of the partners reneged on the agreement.Acclaimed actor Paul Freeman, who starred in “The Three Kings” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, plays Julius Morlang, a successful art photographer who has moved on after the tragic suicide of his first wife, Ellen. The latter is played by Diana Kent, who starred in “Wings of a Dove” and “Heavenly Creatures”. Morlang, however, has found a new love in Ann (Susan Lynch), who is a younger version of Ellen. Susan Lynch starred in “Waking Ned”, “The Secret of Roan Inish” and “Nora” and starred opposite Johnny Depp in “From Hell”. According to producer Petra Goedings of Phanta Vision, they and their Irish co-producers, Samson Films, needed an authentic house in a rural environment for Morlang’s holiday home. Samson Films hired a locations’ manager who looked for a suitable period house for three weeks.

Slane now has its own production company set up by two local entrepreneurs. Dwarfed Films is an exciting Irish-based production company specialising in the areas of short films, music promos and corporate videos. Formed by director/producer Shane Sheils and producer Paula Sheils (both Filmbase/TG4 award winners) with the aim of making high quality productions on all formats. Shorts such as ‘The Darkside’, ‘Frisky Fingers’ and ‘Opera Baby’ have shown at Belfast Film Festival (nominated best short Jameson award), Galway Film Fleadh, Darklight Film Festival, Portobello London Film Festival and RTE amongst others. Dwarfed Films is always seeking to work with fresh and creative talent in front of and behind the camera. We wish them the best of luck in the future.