Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Quiet Man (1952)

“Well, then. Now. I'll begin at the beginnin'. A fine soft day in the spring, it was, when the train pulled into Castletown, three hours late as usual, and himself got off. He didn't have the look of an American tourist at all about him. Not a camera on him; what was worse, not even a fishin' rod.

            There are so many stereotypes against the Irish it is difficult to count. The main ones being they fight a lot and drink too much and have quick tempers. I know from having a bit of Irish in my family what these are like especially the quick tempers (I am Italian, Irish, German, English, and French. The first three are the worst combinations ever!!). The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara is chock full of Irish stereotypes (all carefully and lovingly portrayed) mixed with a very entertaining story.
            Sean Thornton (Wayne) leaves America to settle in his family’s hometown of Innisfree to reclaim their farmhouse and land. His family left Ireland when he was young and many people in the town remember them. Sean is welcomed by the town except for a man named “Red” Will Danaher whom Sean outbid for his land. Red is ready to fight Sean at the drop of a hat but Sean just blows him off and does not bother with him.
            When Sean was being brought to his home he passed a beautiful young woman who he later learns is Mary Kate Danaher (O’Hara) the younger sister of Red. Red becomes even more furious with the American after he hears the man has a soft spot for his sister. Mary Kate thinks Sean is nice and handsome and would like to see him. Red will hear nothing of the kind. The townspeople including a priest conspire a plan to get Red to become interested in marrying someone and putting it into his head that Mary Kate will have to marry and move out for it will not be right to have two ladies in the house. This plan goes perfectly until the day of Sean and Mary Kate’s wedding when Red learns of the plan. Now he will not give his sister the dowry she was promised when she married.

            The dowry represents independence, freedom, and pride to Mary Kate. Sean cannot understand her obsession to gain her wealth and possessions that were promised her and because he cannot understand her stubbornness over things it causes a rift between the married couple. Mary Kate sees him as a coward because Sean will not stand up to her brother and demand what are hers and theirs.
            The last half hour of the film is so good and so funny.
            There are so many funny and good moments throughout the whole film. My favorite part is probably the one that is most well known when Mary Kate speaks Gaelic to the priest when she wants to tell him what is happening between her and Sean. At one point she says “sleeping bag” so you know what she is talking about. I was just cracking up because the poor priest is relaxing and trying to get this fish he has been trying to get for ten years and it is finally on his line. Mary Kate starts yelling and getting excited too yells “get it you fool” or something like that and when the priest does not get it her face drops and she runs away. Another scene is after Sean and Mary Kate get married. She is upset that her brother did not give her her dowry so she tells Sean he is not to touch her. She runs to the bedroom and locks the door but he kicks it down, corners her, kisses her, and then throws her on the bed breaking it. In the morning their friends come bring Mary Kate’s furniture with one piece being a cradle. They tell one of their friends who is an older man to put it in the bedroom so he does and when he sees the bed broken and a mess his reaction is perfect.
            John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara were perfect together. This is the first time I ever really sat through a Maureen O’Hara film even though I have seen bits and pieces of several of her other films. I enjoyed her so much I loved all the scenes when her quick Irish temper comes through. There was a scene where Mary Kate and Red are fighting and they go throw things at each other and she picks up a vase, the look on her face is so good. I love John Wayne in his roles that are not Westerns. I thought he was fantastic in this film I wished I could go run up to him and give him a big hug haha. Wayne and O’Hara had such good chemistry it is not surprising that they made five films together.

            John Ford directed the film as he did with several John Wayne films. I like Ford he always made great films. He was known for his action films like Wayne was as well so this was a big departure for both director and actor. They both did fantastic and the shots that Ford was able to capture are beautiful.
            The Quiet Man is a fantastic film. Right from the moment I started watching it I wanted it on DVD so bad. I can remember seeing the DVD when I worked at Best Buy a few years ago… if only I had liked it then! Everything about The Quiet Man is so good I do not have one complaint about it. There are great dramatic scenes and plenty of funny moments. Entire cast down to the villagers were perfection.
            The Quiet Man is a classic film that should be watched by every film lover.