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THE CRIME OF CAPTAIN COLTHURST

UK, 1981 (MIFF 1983)

Director: Bruce Norman

The Easter Rebellion began in Dublin on Sunday, April 24th, 1916. The following evening, Francis Sheehy Skeffington, journalist, nationalist, pacifist was arrested in the street. This action by an officer of the 3rd Royal Irish Rifles, set in motion a chain of events that were brutal, bizarre, and ultimately tragic. Skeffington was taken to the Portobello barracks, and, after declaring he was not a Sinn Feiner, was placed in the cells. That night, he was taken by a Captain Bowen Colthurst, against army regulations, as a hostage on a raiding party. Two boys were murdered, but Skeffington unharmed, was returned to his cell in the early hours of the next morning.

Six hours later, Colthurst, prompted by his bible to' slay his enemies' took Skeffington and two others into the guard room yard, and shot them.

This drama-documentary investigates the historical events and asks—Was Colthurst really insane? What relevance has Skeffington's message of non-violence for the situation in Ireland today?

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