Sunday, 29 May 2011

The Quiet Man (1952)

Oh, bonny Ireland. I've never actually been, but I love the whole idea of Ireland. Green luscious landscapes, leprechauns, green-ness. The closest I have ever got to Ireland has been watching The Quiet Man. This film is just a classic in all respects of the word.

The Quiet Man (1952) Dir. John Ford


  • John Wayne as Sean Thornton

  • Maureen O'Hara as Mary Kate Danaher

  • Barry Fitzgerald as Michaleen Og Flynn

  • Victor McLaglen as Squire "Red" Will Danaher

  • Ward Bond as Father Peter Lonergan

  • Mildred Natwick as The Widow Sarah Tillane

  • Francis Ford as Dan Tobin

  • Arthur Shields as Rev. Cyril Playfair

  • Plot:
    Famous American boxer Sean Thornton decides to trace back his Irish roots to the little town of Innisfree. He buys back his old family cottage, much to the dismay and anger of "Red" Will Danaher who has been trying to buy the property for ages. Walking in the town one morning, Sean meets Danaher's beautiful spinster sister, Mary Kate. They fall for each other, but can't get married without her brother's consent (who still bears a grudge against Sean). But with the help of Father Peter Lonergan and Sean's friend and "matchmaker" Michaleen Og Flynn they convince Danaher that the only reason the wealthy widow Sarah Tillane (whom he loves) won't marry him is because there is another woman in the house.

    Meanwhile, Sean is finding it hard to conceal his tragic past as a boxer who accidentally killed his opponent. He thinks that if anyone finds out that he will feel just as bad as he did when in America. The only soul who knows is the Protestant Rev. Playfair (who is great friends with the Catholic preist Father Lonergan, which is strange considering the time period in Ireland...)

    Danaher agrees to letting Mary Kate and Sean marry, but after the wedding he finds out that the story about Sarah wanting to marry him once his sister has left his house was a lie, and denies Mary Kate her dowry. Sean cares nothing for the furniture and money that she won't be able to have, but Mary Kate is convinced that without the traditional dowry, she is no married woman. After some friends deliver her furniture the next morning they tell Mary Kate that her brother has let her have them, but not the money. Happy that she has her own things, but still enraged at the prospect of not getting the money, she tries to persuade Sean to go and get it for her. He laughs it off, but the next morning he hears that Mary Kate has left for Dublin because she is ashamed that he won't get the dowry for her and decides he must leave to get her and that they should both confront Danaher. They get the money but throw it into a furnace to show they didn't care. They did it just to prove a point, but not all is happy between Sean and Danaher yet...

    This is how I want Ireland to be. If I get there and Barry Fitzgerald isn't waiting at the station for me and John Wayne doesn't live in a little cottage down the way with Mildred Natwick as a neighbour, I shall be deeply disappointed. I don't even care that it's a kind of mash up of England, Ireland and Scotland. It just looks awesome.

    Barry Fitzgerald is completely beyond amazing. I just love him to bits in this film! And can I just say, Mildred Natwick is so good! I love her in Barefoot In The Park and she is about the only thing aside from Shirley MacLaine that is watchable in The Trouble With Harry (sorry Harry fans!). John wayne is great as always and he and Maureen O'Hara go really well together. It reminded me that I have Rooster Cogburn in our Katharine Hepburn box-set and I haven't yet seen it! That'll be one for us to watch over the half term (the British schooling system is so completely complicated compared to the American one that I will just tell you all that a half term is a week-long holiday which started yesterday)! Victor McLaglen was also fantastic as Danaher.

    Now I know why there are so many random people in this film! I looked on Wikipedia and found out that the two brothers in the pub who meet John Wayne first are Maureen O'Hara's bothers! Also the children at the horserace who seem to appear out of thin air are John Wayne's children.

    Don't smile... we know you smuggled your brothers into the movie. They actually weren't that bad!

    *This next part of the review could quite possibly spoil the end for you if you haven't seen it yet, so read at your own peril!*

    The fight scene at the end is one of the highlights of the whole movie. I love it that Michaleen starts collecting bets on Danaher and Sean, and when they cut to the police station one of the Policemen asks the other who has just been on the phone, "What did he say?" and the other policeman replies, "he said to put five pounds on Danaher!" It is all so wonderfully choreographed that it just looks natural (well, as natural as some men rolling around in hay and pushing each other into rivers can). There is a great little cameo for the old man who is on his deathbed with the preist's son there and when he hears the fight he jumps out of bed and runs to watch the fight!

    The other great scene is the famous scene with Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne at the beginning which is so romantic. Spot the reference in E.T. - The Extra Terrestrial!

    John Ford directs it very well, too. Apparently there is some speculation about what Maureen O'Hara says to John Wayne at the end to make him look so surprised, legend has it that John Ford told her something shocking to say to John Wayne and that is why he looks so genuinely shocked! At first she said that she "couldn't possibly say that to Duke (John Wayne)!" but afterwards she told the two Johns who were the only other people to know the line, that they must never tell anyone else what it was.

    I would strongly recommend this movie to anyone. It will be great for all of you that just broke up for holidays to watch while your on vacation!



    Post a Comment

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. It makes me happy to see people are interested in my posts!