Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Quiet Man

I've never been a big fan of John Wayne. I think that's mostly because he did westerns and I don't really care for westerns. However, he did make a few movies where he didn't wear a cowboy hat. The Quiet Man was one of them.

Many actors have a counterpart of the opposite sex that often play opposite them in many movies. There's Bogey and Bacall, Tracey and Hepburn, Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. John Wayne's Katharine Hepburn is Maureen O'Hara. Her most popular movie was probably Miracle on 34th Street. Other big titles were Alfred Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, How Green Was My Valley, and the original The Parent Trap.

In The Quiet Man, Wayne is an Irishman, Sean Thornton, returning to Ireland after living most of his life in America, to reclaim his family's property. Neighboring property owner Red Danaher (Victor McLaglen) wants the property, but Sean outbids him. Meanwhile, Sean falls in love with Red's sister Mary Kate (O'Hara), but Red refuses to allow him to marry her.

Sean, a former boxer, eventually wins approval, but as Sean is unaccustomed to the pride of the Irish and their customs, he has a difficult time appreciating what is important to others, which strains his marriage. He eventually loses respect from many, in addition to losing Mary Kate, and must fight to win her and everyone's respect back.

The best line of the movie is when someone asks Sean Thorton where he lived in America. He said he lived in Pittsburgh, if you can call that living. Hysterical!

The movie was filmed in color, but not by a high quality color film, so by today's standards it looks pretty bad. I initially thought it was a colorized black and white movie. The movie was mostly filmed in Ireland, home to many of the actors, including supporting actor Barry Fitzgerald.

The Quiet Man is 2 hours and ten minutes long. The movie was made in 1952 and directed by the famous John Ford, often considered the best director of all time. In fact, he won an Oscar for Best Director in The Quiet Man. The movie also won an Academy Award for Best Cinemotography. It was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Victor McLaglen), Best Art Direction, Best Sound, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

I found the movie to be a bit long and without a clear direction. As acclaimed as the movie was, I only thought it to be moderately good. I did, however, enjoy the culturally appropriate music. And I always enjoy Barry Fitzgerald, especially when he's been a wee bit to the bottle.

I give The Quiet Man an even 3 stars.

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