What would The Quiet Man have looked like if Ford had managed to film Maurice Walsh’s story in the 1930s, when he bought the rights? Presumably there would be no colour, little if any location-work, no Wayne or O’Hara, and more politics. When he finally made it, he was persuaded by the studio to downplay the story’s IRA theme, which leaves some odd loose ends but otherwise the long postponement was pure gain.
Nobody needs reminding of the story, the charm, the actors, the Oscars, the boost to tourism, the iconic status, but the role of Ford’s elder brother Francis has been strangely overlooked. As a silent director, he gave Ford his start in the industry; as an actor, he became a talismanic Irish presence in a string of finely-judged cameo roles. Here, white-bearded, billed seventh, and presiding genially over much of the action, he has more than a cameo, and he gets a worthy send-off in the film’s penultimate shot.
We are delighted to welcome special guests Dan Ford (grandson of John Ford) and Redmond Morris to this 60th anniversary screening.
35mm preservation print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
Presented in partnership with Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA) as part of John Ford Ireland: Film Symposium.
Showing as part of the IFI’s Season of John Ford’s Irish Films.