Less simplistic than most Ritt movies, this is set in the Pennsylvania of 1876, where the miners, Catholic Irish and surly, are at the mercy of their predominantly Protestant employers after an ineffectual strike to improve conditions. The nub of the film comes in the odd, abrasive friendship that springs up between Connery, leader of a secret organisation committed to acts of terrorism until the bosses submit, and Harris as an informer equally disgruntled but out for his own interests. Essentially two facets of the same personality, the pair are cunningly used to explore areas of ambivalence in the extent to which the actions of each are justified. The trouble, as so often with Ritt films, is that the situation remains interesting rather than involving. But at least this detachment means that one has the leisure to savour the textures of Wong Howe's magnificent camerawork.
The Molly Maguires
Cast and crew