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The Luck of Ginger Coffey

The Luck of Ginger Coffey

Year: 1964
Language: English
Format: 35mm Black & White
Runtime: 100 min
Director: Irvin Kershner
Producer: Leon Roth
Executive Producer: F Crawley
Writer: Brian Moore
Cinematographer: Manny Wynn
Editor: Tony Gibbs
Sound: Stan Kasper
Cast: Powys Thomas, Tom Kneebone, Leo Leyden, Elizabeth McClintock, Tom Harvey, Liam Redmond, Mary Ure, Robert Shaw
Production Company: Crawley Films Ltd,

Ginger Coffey (Shaw), his wife Vera (Ure) and their 14-year-old daughter, Paulie (McClintock), emigrate to Montreal from Ireland, in search of a better life. Ginger is an idealist and has no more success finding work than he did in his homeland and his wife and daughter hate their new surroundings.

Vera is determined to return to Ireland and saves the money for the fares. Behind Vera's back, Gin­ger takes the money and spends it. After Vera leaves Ginger, he ends up taking two jobs, one as a proofreader at a Montreal newspaper and the other delivering laundry. Ginger turns down a promotion at the laundry — only to be fired from the newspaper.

Out of work and discouraged, Ginger gets drunk and is ar­rested for indecent exposure. In court, he tells of his dreams and disillusionments; the magistrate dismisses the charge, and Ginger leaves the courtroom to meet Vera.

Based on Brian Moore’s autobiographical novel of the same name, The Luck of Ginger Coffey is an extremely well-crafted, sombre portrait of a dreamer longing for personal freedom. The Montreal scenes are created with great care and the performances are uniformly excellent.

The film was favourably reviewed by critics in Canada and abroad and was a modest box office success. Yet, because it was directed by an American (Kershner, who later directed The Empire Strikes Back), and had a British lead, it wasn’t considered "Canadian" by some critics when it was first released. Nevertheless, the film was nominated and won best feature at the Canadian Film Awards.