Louis D’Alton

Life
1900-1951 [Louis Lynch D’Alton; orig. Dalton]; b. Dublin, son of Charles D’Alton (comedian, Shakespearean actor, and theatre manager), toured England, Scotland and Ireland with father’s company; worked as civil servant and cartoonist before joining Victor O’Donovan’s group; wrote Death is So Fair (1936), a novel of the Rising and the subsequent move to extremism triggered by the political martyrdom of the leaders; formed his own-name touring company;

became leading Abbey producer, at loggerheads with Ernest Blythe; toured the Abbey in the provinces in 1940; The Money Doesn’t Matter played by Ulster Group Theatre (1941); Lovers Meeting (1941); This Other Eden (Abbey 1953) was filmed in 1959; also Cafflin’ Johnnie (1958); d. 16 June 1951, in a London hospital; his widow [and second wife] subsequently appeared in The Riordans (RTE). DIB DIL IF2 DIW OCIL

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Works
Novels, Death is So Fair (London: William Heinemann 1936), 272pp.; Rags and Sticks (London: Heinemann 1938).

Plays, The Man in the Cloak (Abbey 1937) and The Mousetrap [1938], both in Two Irish Plays (1938); To-morrow Never Comes (1929); The Spanish Soldier (1940); The Money Doesn’t Matter (1941); Lovers Meeting (1941); They Got What they Wanted (1947) [filmed as Smiling Irish Eyes]; The Devil a Saint Would Be (1951); This Other Eden (1953); Cafflin’ Johnny (1958).

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Criticism
  • Thomas Hogan [pseud.], ‘Theatre’, in Envoy 2 (1950), pp.80-84, review;
  • [Obituary,] Irish Sunday Independent (17 June 1951), sect. 1, pp.3-5;
  • Fidelma Farley, This Other Eden (Cork UP 2001), 104pp. [film adapted from Louis D’Alton’s successful Abbey play, and dir. by Muriel Box in 1959];
  • Ciara O’Farrell, Louis D’Alton and the Abbey Theatre (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2004), 256pp.
See also remarks and quotations in Noël Debeer, ‘The Irish Novel Looks Backward’, in Patrick Rafroidi & Maurice Harmon, eds., The Irish Novel in Our Time (Université de Lille 1975-76), pp.106-23. Also

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References
Desmond Clarke, Ireland in Fiction: A Guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances and Folklore [Pt. 2] (Cork: Royal Carbery 1985), lists Death is So Fair (1936), and Rags and Sticks (1938), and mentions This Other Eden, Money Doesn’t Matter, and The Devil A Saint Would Be. Long entry in DIL but no refs FDA. D. E. S. Maxwell, Modern Irish Drama (Cambridge UP 1984) lists This Other Eden (Dublin 1954), and They Got What They Wanted (Dundalk 1962).

Robert Hogan, ed., Dictionary of Irish Literature (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1979) cites novels, Death is So Fair (1936), based on 1916, contrasts the romantic revolutionaries Manus Considine with the efficient killer Andrew Gilfoyle in 1916 [DIB: 1916 and 1921], and Rags and Sticks (London: Heinemann 1938) charts the decline of the Superlative Dramatic Company. Plays, The Man in the Cloak (Abbey 1937), based on Mangan; The Mousetrap, printed with the former in Two Irish Plays (1938); To-morrow Never Comes (1929), psychological breakdown of frightened murderer; The Spanish Soldier (1940), a pro-Franco volunteer returns to Irish life; The Money doesn’t Matter (1941), Michael Mannion, businessman, makes good - ran 8 weeks run at Abbey; Lovers Meeting (1941), matchmaking tragedy; They Got What they Wanted (1947), reiterates the money-doesn’t-matter theme, filmed as Smiling Irish Eyes; The Devil a Saint Would Be (1951), the devil masquerading as a saint guides 70-year old Stacey through apparitions; This Other Eden (1953), Shavian drama of Irish girl and Birmingham business escaping to the opposite isles [to be compared with Shaw’s John Bull’s Other Island and O’Casey’s Purple Dust, acc. Robert Hogan, in intro. to Seven Irish Plays, 1967]; Cafflin’ Johnny (1958), comic sketch of a Do-Nothing philosopher. Plays mostly printed or reprinted by P. J Bourke. COMM [as supra].

Kevin Rockett, et al., eds, Cinema & Ireland (1988), Talk of a Million (1951), 105 [Louis D’Alton’s Abbey play They Got What They Wanted retitled Talk of a Million (1951), a British movie, it concerns the Monaghans and their 5 children; poverty-striken, given credit when thought heirs of American estate, setting up successful business enterprises on credit and skillfully outfoxing a local gombeen before the real case is made known], 113 [dir. John Paddy Carstairs]; successfully outwitting a gombeen was the central theme of six plays that Emmet Dalton [sic] was responsible for adapting] 108-10 (124, n.40).

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Quotations
Rebel hearts: ‘The whole mood of Ireland had changed. For every rebel heart then, there were at least twenty now. The daily executions had done their work. / [...] The volleys of the firing squads awoke ancestral memories. The dead men triumphed. They passed into the Valhalla of the Heroes canonised by their enemies bullets. The manner of their passing awoke once more the memory of an almost forgotten but mighty host who died in similar circumstances.’ (Death is So Fair, p.35; cited in Noël Debeer, ‘The Irish Novel Looks Backward’, in Patrick Rafroidi & Maurice Harmon, eds., The Irish Novel in Our Time, Université de Lille 1975-76, pp.106-23; p.118.)

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