Quiet Man

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The Quiet Man (1952)

Sep 22, 1999 (Updated Nov 13, 1999)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:cinematography, cast, direction, script

Cons:cartoonish violence

John Ford wanted to direct a film about an American boxer's return to his Irish roots, but couldn't get any studio to bankroll it. John Wayne had agreed to star in the picture, and his name was box office gold, but the studios suspected that the American public would be indifferent to Irish culture.

Of all the Hollywood studios, Republic Pictures, best known for their awful low-budget westerns, ended up producing the film. They were rewarded with an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, while Ford won Best Director and Winton C. Hoch won for the rich color cinematography.

Wayne's boxing career in the states ends when he
kills a man in the ring. He retires to the Irish
cottage where he was born, and weds fiery
red-head Maureen O'Hara. But O'Hara's brother,
bullying Victor MacLaglen (apparently a much
older brother!) refuses to pay the dowry, forcing
a physical confrontation with Wayne.

"The Quiet Man" benefits greatly from the
presence of two of Hollywood's best character
actors, Irish curmudgeon Barry Fitzgerald and the
hulking, cantankerous McLaglen. McLaglen would be
nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his
performance. O'Hara is radiant as always. Wayne
once again plays himself, but he does it so well.

I don't know if the early 1950s depiction of
rural Ireland is accurate. Apparently, all of the
buildings have stood for centuries, and in the
taverns serving black beer, there is always a
fellow with an accordion singing Irish ballads.
Horse and carts are still common. Whether this is
an accurate portrayal or a fantasy isn't
important, however, as the viewer will gladly
accept this colorful world of rolling hills and
Irish brogues.

The film's ultimate message, that it is necessary
to confront bullies in order to prove your
manhood, bothers me a little. (It is a wise
policy to ensure the odds are in your favor
first.) Also, there is a scene where Wayne is
pushing, dragging and even kicking O'Hara, to an
approving audience. One woman even gives Wayne a
stick "to beat yer lovely wife with". This is
supposed to be a comic scene, but I can't say
that I approve of it.

Still, a highly entertaining film, with excellent
performances especially by Fitzgerald and
McLaglen. (82/100)


Recommend this product? Yes


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