A quick review for this film. Since it will be playing on TCM later tonight (10 PM EST) I thought that it would be a great idea to re-watch it and give a short review in case anybody was thinking about checking it out. The Quiet Man is a 1952 romantic dramedy directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, and Victor McLaglen. Here we follow a man named Sean Thornton (Wayne), who has traveled from Pittsburg to Ireland, the land of his youth. He plans to remain on the “Emerald Isle” in the cottage that had belonged to his family before they moved to America. While here he falls in love with a fiery Irish woman named Mary-Kate Danaher (O’Hara), and stirs the hatred of her brother (McLaglen).
I will not spoil anything else tonight for those of you that decide to watch this film on television, but know that there are plenty of twists and turns throughout the story that put Sean and Mary-Kate’s relationship to the test before concluding in an epic spectacle. What the spectacle is – you’ll just have to watch in order to find out.
Overall I really enjoyed this film. As expected, it was very well-directed by Ford (earning him an Oscar). It also won the Oscar for best cinematography, which was more than deserved. This film thoroughly puts the ’emerald’ in ‘Emerald Isle’ as cinematographers Winton C. Hoch and Archie Stout fill in as much green as possible. Not only do they use the rolling hills and landscape, but even the buildings, the train, and more. There is so much green that it is almost insane. So if you have a particular dislike for that color run away from this movie as quickly as possible. Personally, I felt that it added a lot of charm to the film and really elevated it in terms of technical quality.
Earlier I stated how great older films looked in regards to their color schemes, and when I read up on this movie and saw that it was done in none other than technicolor it makes sense. If I recall, The Red Shoes was also done in technicolor – another film I found to be beautiful – so clearly there is something magical about this style that really adds a great deal of character to the film. If only it were used in some movies today. That would be pretty neat.
As many have noted about this movie, The Quiet Man is a sort of love letter from Ford to Ireland, the country of his ancestors. As mentioned by B+ Movie Blog, Ford’s drive to make Rio Grande stemmed entirely from his desire to convince the studio to let him go ahead and make The Quiet Man. Clearly this meant more to him than just another paycheck from the studio. It was his ‘baby’, so to speak. It is also, apparently, one of the only films in which the native tongue of Ireland makes an appearance. He clearly had a desire to not only express his love for Ireland, but to make the audience better understand the magic that existed in that land. In that regard he succeeded.
There really are not that many flaws with the film at all. In fact, the only issue that I can think of is that it is a pretty long film and can drag at places, but it picks right back up again just as fast so that is really just a nit-pick. It is beautiful film that has a lot of charm and likable characters. Definitely tune into TCM tonight to check it out if you haven’t yet.