The Enigma of Frank Ryan

96mins (2012)

Dir/Prod: Desmond Bell

Glass Machine/TG4


Full sound post production

Supervising Sound Editor

Re-recording Mixer


The Enigma of Frank Ryan Page


Frank Ryan's life (born Limerick 1902, died Dresden 1944) remains an enigma. The teenage IRA volunteer, dissident republican and Spanish International Brigade volunteer, ended his life working for the Nazis in wartime Berlin. How could this be?. From an apartment in war ravaged Berlin Ryan reflects on his life sharing his story with a young radio producer. After a failed attempt to return to Ireland by U Boat together with the head of the IRA, Ryan becomes trapped in Berlin. The contradiction between his political beliefs and his dependence on Nazi hospitality comes to haunt him.



This film required a wide range of soundscapes, with moody internal sound design to reflect the character's internal struggles, nighttime bombing raids in Dresden, bullet flying skirmishes in the Spanish Civil War, an Irish prison and the inside of a submarine amongst them. I also recut two different duration versions as the acting and voiceover were done in both Irish (Gaelic) and English. A big challenge and a really successful result.

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