Brendan Behan, the quixotic, eternally sloshed Irish poet/playwright, peppered his play The Quare Fellow with plenty of "gallows humor." The film version dispenses with most the play's morbid jests, leaving us with a grim, straightforward account of a Dublin death-row prison guard (Patrick McGoohan) and his growing empathy with two condemned prisoners. One could understand the removal of the play's comic elements had the film been made in timorous Hollywood. But since Quare Fellow was financed and produced in Ireland, it seems a inappropriately glum tribute to one of the country's boldest and most brilliant talents. Quare Fellow was directed by American "B" specialist Arthur Dreifuss, who also adapted Behan's play for the screen.
by Hal Erickson synopsis