AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Three Cheers for the Irish
Alternate Title: You Can't Beat the Irish
Director: Lloyd Bacon (Dir)
Release Date:   16 Mar 1940
Premiere Information:   New York opening: week of 9 Mar 1940
Production Date:   began mid-Dec 1939
Duration (in mins):   100
Duration (in reels):   10
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Cast:   Priscilla Lane (Maureen Casey)  
    Thomas Mitchell (Peter Casey)  
    Dennis Morgan (Angus Ferguson)  
    Virginia Gray (Patricia Casey)  
    Irene Hervey (Heloise Casey)  
    Alan Hale (Gallagher)  
    William Lundigan ([Michael] Flaherty)  
    Frank Jenks (Ed McKean)  
    Henry Armetta (Tony)  
    Morgan Conway (Joe Niklas)  
    Alec Craig (Callahan)  
    J. M. Kerrigan (Scanlon)  
    Cliff Clark (Mara)  
    William Davidson (Police commissioner)  
    Joe King (Police captain)  
    Ferike Boros (Tenement woman)  
    Ed Gargan (Policeman)  
    Walter Miller (Sergeant)  
    William Gould (Desk sergeant)  
    Wade Boteler (Lieutenant)  

Summary: After twenty years of devoted service to the police force, Irish police officer Peter Casey finds himself pensioned off and replaced by rookie Angus Ferguson, whom Casey considers a "contemptuous Scottishman". While delivering a complaint one night to the Casey apartment, Angus meets Casey's eldest daughter Maureen, who runs the motherless Casey household, and a mutual attraction arises between the young people. After retiring, Casey begins to get underfoot, and so Maureen and her sisters Patricia and Heloise encourage him to run for the post of alderman. Casey accepts the challenge, and with the help of his hooligan friend Gallagher, launches his campaign. Meanwhile, Maureen and Angus have been courting, and on the night that they are secretly married, Casey pleads with Maureen to never see the Scotsman again and tries to interest her in Michael Flaherty, a nice Irishman. When Casey's campaign runs short of funds, Heloise na├»vely solicits a donation from her bookie friend, Joe Niklas. Upon learning the identity of his benefactor, Casey asks his constituency to elect his opponent, and his announcement sparks a barroom brawl in which Angus arrests him for disturbing the peace. After being pardoned by the judge, Casey chastises Maureen for her friendship with the Scotsman, and when Angus announces their marriage, the furious Casey orders the newlyweds to leave his house. Casey loses his daughter but wins the election as the voters, who admire his honesty, elect him alderman. On Christmas eve, he finally wins back Maureen when the familiy is reconciled at Maureen's bedside as she gives birth to twins. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Production Text: A Warner Bros.--First National Picture; Jack L. Warner in charge of production
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Lloyd Bacon (Dir)
  Hugh Cummings (Dial dir)
  Dick Mayberry (Asst dir)
Producer: Hal B. Wallis (Exec prod)
  Samuel Bischoff (Assoc prod)
Writer: Richard Macaulay (Orig scr)
  Jerry Wald (Orig scr)
Photography: Charles Rosher (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Esdras Hartley (Art dir)
Film Editor: William Holmes (Film ed)
Costumes: Milo Anderson (Ward)
Music: Leo F. Forbstein (Mus dir)
  Adolph Deutsch (Mus)
  Ray Heindorf (Orch arr)
Sound: Stanley Jones (Sd)
Make Up: Perc Westmore (Makeup)
Production Misc: Robert Watson (Spec adv)
Country: United States

Songs: "Mi caballero," words and music by Jack Scholl and M. K. Jerome.
Composer: M. K. Jerome
  Jack Scholl

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. 16/3/1940 dd/mm/yyyy LP9483

PCA NO: 6007
Physical Properties: Sd: RCA Sound System

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Fathers and daughters
  Irish Americans
  Pride and vanity
Subjects (Minor): Bars
  Political campaigns
  Scottish Americans

Note: The working title of this film was You Can't Beat the Irish . According to news items in HR , Geraldine Fitzgerald and Jane Bryan were slated to star in this film and Warners planned to borrow Fred MacMurray from Paramount for the lead. Songwriters Jack Scholl and M. K. Jerome were awarded an ASCAP award for their work on this picture. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   6 Mar 40   p. 3.
Film Daily   8 Mar 40   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   22 May 39   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Dec 39   pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Jan 40   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Jan 40   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Feb 40   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Mar 40   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Jul 40   p. 7.
Motion Picture Daily   11 Mar 40   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald   16 Mar 40   p. 34, 36
New York Times   9 Mar 40   p. 19.
Variety   13 Mar 40   p. 16.

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.