Rooney. James Ignatius Rooney (John Gregson). Copyright: ITV Studios / Rank Organisation


  • 1958 film

Comedy about Rooney, a Gaelic sportsman and Dublin rubbish collector, and his landlady's family. Stars John Gregson, Muriel Pavlow, Barry Fitzgerald, June Thorburn, Noel Purcell and more.

Rooney. Image shows from L to R: James Ignatius Rooney (John Gregson), Micky Hart (Eddie Byrne), Tim Hennessy (Noel Purcell), Joe O'Connor (Jack MacGowran)

Key details

John Gregson, Muriel Pavlow, Barry Fitzgerald, June Thorburn, Noel Purcell, Maire Kean, Eddie Byrne, Liam Redmond and more
Catherine Cookson and Patrick Kirwan
George Pollock
George H. Brown and Earl St. John

Rooney's the name - and did ever a bachelor have such troubles? He's as fine a figure of a man as ever walked down O'Connell Street, Dublin: he has a good, steady job with the City Corporation, and he's a champion at the Gaelic sport of hurley - but his trouble is with the ladies, and the landladies most of all! They start by renting him a room, and finish by wanting to share his life.

Five times in eleven months he has moved to new lodgings, his removal van a dustcart - for James Ignatius Rooney is a dustman and proud of it!

Mrs. Wall is the latest in the long line of such landladies, and when she starts bringing him tea in bed, Rooney knows it's time to decamp again. His colleagues (Tim, Joe and Micky) carry out the usual plan - and the furniture!

It is Mr. Doolan, lawyer and Chairman of the All-Ireland Hurley Selection Committee, who recommends Rooney to the household of the widowed Mrs. O'Flynn and her two daughters, Doreen and Sheila. A proud family, the O'Flynns are not keen to take in any lodger at all, but Mr. Doolan is a great man and so they agree: although they're all the more shocked when they find out Rooney's profession! Mrs. O'Flynn's niece, Maire, is the family drudge, and her only ally is the grand old man of the family, their bed-ridden, gravely ill Grandpa. Thankfully they both like Rooney, no matter what his job is.

When word gets round that Mr. Doolan has promised Rooney big things, both Doreen and her mother alike begin to look at James differently. Isn't he, after all, the sort of man who might make a woman a good husband?

Soon, the truth is out: Rooney is selected to play in the all-Ireland hurley finals, whilst Maire receives a letter she is secretive about, raising her aunt's suspicions. Later the same night Maire returns home by taxi: a new hair style, a splendid new outfit, and a selection of gifts for the family - the best money can buy. It's a scandal, they fear; surely she is up to no good!

Only Rooney guesses the truth - that the anonymous letter included news of a financial gift from Grandpa, keen to see her happy before he dies. Sure enough, a few days later he does just that. He leaves no will, but instructs the family solicitor, Mr Doolan, that most of his legacy should go to Maire - including the leasehold on the house.

The day of the funeral coincides with the hurley final, and Rooney's side finds itself triumphant, with Rooney himself scoring a late, winning goal. He finds himself champion of the city, but, returning home, is aghast to find Maire arrested on a theft charge. A stolen necklace has been found on her person, and of course the rest of the family are sure of her guilt. But Rooney knows better: he knows he found the jewellery in a dustbin on his rounds and gave it to her as a gift. Rushing off by horse and cart, he seeks to gather the evidence to free the girl - and maybe finally realise that he has finally fallen in love.

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Additional details

As Irish as the blarney - and as funny as they come!
UK certificate
88 minutes

The Rank Organisation

Camera set-up
Single camera
Black and white
Title song Rooney sung by Michael Holliday.

Website links

Broadcast details

Most recent repeats
  • Friday 6th December 2019 at 1:30am on TPTV
  • Wednesday 14th August 2019 at 10:00am on TPTV
  • Friday 26th April 2019 at 4:15am on TPTV

Recording details

  • Pinewood Studios

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