Fun Size Review: The Colleen Bawn (1911)

An American production team shooting in Ireland with a screenplay based on a true crime scandal that fascinated the entire nation… Who said silent films were boring?

This picture is important in showcasing the international nature of the Kalem film studio and it also is a fascinating glimpse of Ireland. That being said, the performances are pretty inconsistent with director Sidney Olcott being egregiously hammy. Still, anybody interested in Irish history should enjoy this one.

How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.

Unlike real life, the Colleen Bawn gets a happy ending with her aristocratic lover.

Read my full-length review here.

If it were a dessert it would be: Gingerbread White Chocolate Chip Softies. Softer and sweeter than you remember.

Availability: Released on DVD and also available for free and legal streaming courtesy of the Irish Film Institute.


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  1. Marie Roget

    Being a fan of “murder ballads” (which somehow and sadly seem to have a long history around the world) I was familiar with the real-life events that spawned this interesting film based on a popular play. Had never seen it until today. Just watched- it’s such a lovely film, almost a travelog of parts of Dear Old Éire. Enjoyed the heck out of watching it, even with a revised happier ending (which no murder ballad ever has, of course).

    Murder ballad fans would of course appreciate that the final stanza (ahem, reel) has gone missing 😉 Thanks for the heads up on The Colleen Bawn- now off to read the MS full length review!

    1. Fritzi Kramer

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Yes, the evolution from murder to romance is quite fascinating and says a lot about the tastes of the generations between the 1810s murder and the 1910s movie.

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