Quiet Man, The

Director: John Ford

U.S.A.| 1952. Colour. 129 minutes.

Director John Ford’s epic romantic comedy is a loving, sentimental and nostalgic tribute to his Irish ancestry. A rich, beautifully-textured Technicolor production, The Quiet Man was filmed mostly on location in Ireland, although some backdrops and studio scenes were also incorporated. Frank Nugent’s screenplay is an adaptation of Maurice Walsh’s 1933 Saturday Evening Post short story Green Rushes. It tells of Irish-American boxer Sean Thornton (John Wayne), who returns to Innisfree and embarks on a turbulent courtship with flame-haired local beauty Mary Kate (a wonderfully feisty performance by Maureen O’Hara). Sean clashes with Mary Kate’s brother Will (Victor McLaglen), a bully who refuses to sanction the couple’s marriage. As in many Ford movies, the struggle between the two men is resolved in an epic fistfight, and the film flirts with elements of myth and legend in a manner that recalls his classic westerns. For some viewers and critics, The Quiet Man is a wonderful evocation of romantic Ireland and the search for home; for others it is a showcase for the worst kind of Irish stereotypes. Ford considered it one of his favourite films, and it won him his fourth Academy Award as ‘Best Director’.

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