Released in 1952, The Quiet Man is a curious combination of John Wayne, John Ford and 1920s Ireland. Famous at the time for its use of Tecnicolor, and winner of two Academy Awards, The Quiet Man is now available on Blu-ray for the first time.
The plot is simple and allows plenty of space for the leads to perform. John Wayne plays Sean Thornton, an emigrant who grew up in Pittsburgh and now returns to Innisfree to reclaim his heritage in the form of the old family farm. This brings him into confrontation with local squire Will Danahan (Victor McLaglen) and he falls for Will’s sister Mary Kate (Maureen O’Hara). The story unfolds in a comfortable, Sunday afternoon way until the climactic fist fight and the inevitable happy ending.
On the way we get many tropes of a romanticised Ireland that never was and the film is never less than affectionate, even when at its most tongue in cheek. Wayne and Ford may have been far better known for many Westerns, but this films works very well and taps into many romantic myths of the Celtic diaspora and also acts as a fascinating look at Ireland as it was in the early 1950s when the film was made. The society presented is idealised and all religions and classes mix freely. This adds to the storytelling but does require a little suspension of belief.
The cinematography is a substantial part of the film’s appeal, and shot after shot are framed as moving postcards into a vision of Ireland that never was. With the transfer to Blu-ray everything looks gorgeous, even if the aspect ratio doesn’t suit a modern widescreen television.
Apart from the two hour main feature there are extras in the form of a video essay on John Ford, a making-of documentary, the original trailer, and various profiles of Wayne, Ford and cinematographer Winton C Hoch.
This is an adorable slice of nostalgia.
Special Features: Video essay on John Ford / Making-of / Profiles / Original trailerTHE QUIET MAN / CERT: U / DIRECTOR: JOHN FORD / SCREENPLAY: FRANK S. NUGENT / STARRING: JOHN WAYNE, MAUREEN O’HARA, BARRY FITZGERALD, VICTOR MCLAGLEN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW