The Quiet Man

Directed by John Ford
Produced by Merian C. Cooper
Written by Maurice Walsh, Frank S. Nugent & Richard Llewellyn
Starring John Wayne
Maureen O’Hara
Barry Fitzgerald
Ward Bond
Victor McLaglen
Music by Victor Young
Cinematography Winton C. Hoch & Archie Stout
Editing by Jack Murray
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Release date 21 July 1952 (UK)
August (Venice Film Fest.)
14 August (US)
Running time 129 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Quiet Man is an interesting film that I watched this afternoon. I know that you probably think that it is inappropriate to watch a film about Ireland on Australia Day, yet there is some reference to Australia, which I will get to later. As an aside if you ever wondered where The Simpsons and Family Guy ever got those stereotypes about the Irish being violent drunks, it is this film!!! Then again I wish that modern romantic movies featured John Wayne, a country full of drunks and a huge brawl to top it all off. This film, expertly directed by John Ford, paints the Irish as a race of foul tempered drunks who have some weird moral code that involves beating the crap out of someone and then befriending them.

John Wayne stars in this film as the Irish American Sean Thornton, who has returned to the motherland to return to his ancestral home. Wayne of course only ever played the same character throughout his career, so if you have seen John Wayne once you know what to expect. Here he falls in love with Maureen O’ Hara, who plays the flame haired and foul tempered Mary Kate Daniher. Theirs is a pretty conventional romance; they meet, fall in love, she tries to punch his lights out, they marry, he tries to leave him, he abducts her, she tries to punch his lights out again, she dumps him because she won’t punch her brother’s lights out, he abducts her again, then he beats the crap out of her brother. In the end everyone gets drunk and are happy.
The film is literally filled with lots of drinking and fighting. There are a couple of references to Australia in the film. Thornton’s grandfather was supposedly transported to Australia as a convict where he died, while the traditional Australian bush ballad Wild Colonial Boy is sung a number of time, albeit with the name of the protagonist changed from Jack Doolan to Jack Dugan.
This is a very long film and while I did enjoy it I must say that a couple of times throughout I lost my concentration because Priscilla insisted on interrupting me. Grrrr! The colour of the film looks lovely as is the green lush landscape of Ireland, which we see throughout the film.

The film was nominated for a number of Academy Awards in 1953 including best picture. John Ford also won an Oscar for best director, while Victor McLaglen won one for best supporting actor as Mary Kate’s bully brother Will.

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