Feature Photo: The Quiet Man – Behind the Scenes Mostly Westerns
A Review by sirpeterjames.com.
Here’s a real oldie, shot in Ireland in 1952. The Quiet Man is based on a 1933 Saturday Evening Post short story by Irish novelist Maurice Walsh. The story was adapted for the movie by screenwriters Frank S Nugent and Richard Llewellyn. You may well ask, can there be an appeal for a 70-year-old movie in our day and age? My answer is emphatical, YES! Let me tell you why.
Firstly it’s shot in Ireland – this means spectacular scenery. Green hills, quaint villages, streams, stoney roads, classic old choo-choo train, horse-driven carriages, and too many others to mention. John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara will be forever fresh and young, even 100 years from now. The storyline is oozing with romance and integrity that you and I can easily imagine for ourselves in today’s world. We have a break from the grim bloodied violence of today’s movies. The quality of both cinematography and sound are perfect. It only cost me 3.49 EUR, if I’d paid three times more it would have been well worth the money. At last, but far from the least of the film’s attributes; it is so humorous, you will be laughing most of the time.
The story concerns a man, Sean Thornton (John Wayne), an Irish-born American, who comes to Ireland to seek the home of his birth in a village, White O’Morn, Innisfree, where he hopes to buy the small cottage which his parents owned. In the course of this pursuit, he encounters several obstacles.
The first is that of the altercation he has with Red Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen), who also wants to buy the cottage from a widow, Sarah Tillane (Mildred Natwick). Sean outbids Reds’ offer for the cottage and becomes its new owner.
The second hurdle, in the course of this saga, Sean meets Mary Kate (Maureen O’Hara)– who just happens to be Red’s sister. It’s love at first sight for both of them. But certainly not for Red. He hates Sean with a vengeance. Irish tradition however requires that before Sean and Mary Kate are allowed to be married, red must give his consent.
However, Sean makes friends with a rather influential character, Michaleen Flynn (Barry Fitzgerald) who is in collusion with the local village priest, Father Lonergan, (Ward Bond.) Between these two they think up several interesting ways to hook Red into giving his consent to the marriage.
The marriage is no bed of roses, in fact, for Sean, no bed at all! It creates another traditional hurdle for Sean who is completely puzzled by the behavior of his Irish neighbors. In short Mary Kate wants Sean to collect a 300-pound dowry to be given her by her brother, which is rightfully hers. Once again, by tradition Sean is to ask his antagonist, Red for the dowry. This is the last straw for him and he flatly refuses. In reaction to this Mary Kate calls Sean a coward. What she does not know is, Sean was a champion heavyweight boxer in America. And because of his massive strength, he tragically killed a man with a single punch in the ring. He is not afraid of Red by any means, only fearful of killing him.
You’re itching to know what happens next, aren’t you? I’m sorry, but you have to see the movie to find out. What I will reassure you of, is this, it will be the best few bucks you’ll ever spend. Okay, I’ll give you a hint. Red and Sean end up having a classic fight. Fought along the Irish version of ‘Queensbury Rules,’ and a ring extending through the village and a river. In this Ireland, you will love and laugh every minute.
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