The Quiet Man
|The Quiet Man|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Ford|
|Produced by||Merian C. Cooper|
|Written by||Maurice Walsh
Frank S. Nugent
|Narrated by||Ward Bond|
|Music by||Victor Young|
|Editing by||Jack Murray|
|Distributed by||Republic Pictures|
|Release date(s)||21 July 1952 (UK)
August (Venice Film Fest.)
14 August (US)
|Running time||129 minutes|
|Box office||$3.2 million (US)|
The Quiet Man is a 1952 American Technicolor romantic comedy-drama film. It was directed by John Ford and starred John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Victor McLaglen and Barry Fitzgerald. It was based on a 1933 Saturday Evening Post short story by Maurice Walsh. The film is notable for its lush photography of the Irish countryside and the long, climactic, semi-comic fist fight between Wayne and McLaglen. It was an official selection of the 1952 Venice Film Festival.
In the 1920s, Sean Thornton (John Wayne), an Irish-born American from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, travels to Ireland to reclaim his family's farm in Innisfree. He meets and falls in love with the fiery Mary Kate Danagher (Maureen O'Hara), the spinster sister of the bullying, loud-mouthed landowner Squire "Red" Will Danagher (Victor McLaglen). Danagher, angry that Sean outbid him for the Thornton land adjacent to his property, initially refuses to sanction the marriage until several town locals, including local Catholic priest, Father Lonergan (Ward Bond), conspire to trick him into believing that the wealthy Widow Tillane (Mildred Natwick) wants to marry him, but only if Mary Kate is no longer living in the house. After learning the truth on Sean and Mary Kate's wedding day, an enraged Will refuses to give his sister her full dowry.
Sean, unschooled in Irish customs, cares nothing about the dowry, but Mary Kate is obsessed with obtaining it, the dowry representing her independence, identity, and pride. Angered and shamed by Sean's refusal to confront her brother and demand what is legally hers, she brands him a coward, and, despite living together, they are estranged as husband and wife.
Sean had been a boxer in the United States, a heavyweight challenger known as "Trooper Thorn." After accidentally killing an opponent in the ring, Sean hung up his gloves, vowing never to fight again. This is known to only one other person in the village, the Church of Ireland minister the Rev. Playfair (Arthur Shields).
Later, in an attempt to force Sean to confront Will Danagher, Mary Kate leaves him and boards a train departing Castletown and headed to Dublin. Infuriated, Sean arrives and drags her off the train, and, followed by the townspeople, forces her to walk the five miles to Innisfree from Castletown to Will Danagher's farm. Sean demands that Will hand over her dowry and threatens to return Mary Kate to his household if Will refuses. Will finally relents and gives him the cash. Mary Kate and Sean throw it into a furnace, showing that Mary Kate never cared about the money, but only that Sean stand up for his wife. Sean and Will slug it out through the village, stop for a drink, brawl again, then become best friends. Sean regains Mary Kate's love and respect. Will Danagher and the Widow Tillane begin courting, and peace is returned to Innisfree.
- John Wayne as Sean Thornton
- Maureen O'Hara as Mary Kate Danagher
- Barry Fitzgerald as Michaeleen Oge Flynn
- Victor McLaglen as Squire "Red" Will Danagher
- Ward Bond as Father Peter Lonergan
- Mildred Natwick as The Widow Sarah Tillane
- Francis Ford as Dan Tobin
- Arthur Shields as the Rev. Cyril Playfair
- Eileen Crowe as Elizabeth Playfair
- Charles FitzSimons as Hugh Forbes
- James Fitzsimons (as James Lilburn) as Father Paul
- Sean McClory as Owen Glynn
- Emily Eby as Mave Campbell
- Jack MacGowran as Ignatius Feeney
- Philip Stainton as Anglican Bishop
- Paddy O'Donnell as Train platform conductor.
- Cast notes
- Charles Fitzsimons and James Fitzsimons were Maureen O'Hara's real life younger brothers. In this film, James was billed as James Lilburn, though he was later better known as James O'Hara. Barry Fitzgerald and Arthur Shields were also brothers in real life, and Francis Ford was John Ford's elder brother. Ken Curtis, later of Gunsmoke fame and newly married to John Ford's daughter Barbara, has a small role as the accordion player.
- Wayne brought his four children along on location, and Ford gave them parts in the important race scene in the film:
The film was something of a departure for Wayne and Ford, who were both known mostly for Westerns and other action-oriented films. It was also a departure for Republic Pictures, which backed Ford in what was considered a risky venture at the time. It was the first time the studio, known for low budget B-movies, released a film receiving an Oscar nomination, the only Best Picture nomination the studio would ever garner.
Ford read the story in 1933 and soon purchased the rights to it for $10. Republic Pictures agreed to finance the film with O'Hara and Wayne with Ford directing, only if all three agreed to film a western with Republic. All agreed and after filming Rio Grande they headed for Ireland to start shooting.
One of the conditions that Republic Pictures placed on John Ford was that the film came in at under two hours total running time. The finished picture was two hours and nine minutes. When screening the film for Republic Studio executives, Ford stopped the film at approximately two hours in: on the verge of the climactic fight between Wayne and McLaglen. Republic executives relented and allowed the film to run its full length. It was one of the few films that Republic filmed in Technicolor; most of the studio's other color films were made in a more economical process known as Trucolor.
The famous fight between John Wayne and Victor McLaglen had to be filmed carefully, due to McLaglen's age and failing health.
The film employed many actors from the Irish theatre, including Barry Fitzgerald's brother, Arthur Shields, as well as extras from the Irish countryside, and it is one of the few Hollywood movies in which the Irish language can be heard.
Filming commenced on June 7, 1951. All of the outdoor scenes were shot on location in Ireland. The inside scenes were filmed toward the end of July at Republic, Hollywood.
The story is set in the fictitious community of Innisfree. This is not the same as the Lake Isle of Innisfree, a place in Lough Gill on the Sligo-Leitrim border made famous by poet William Butler Yeats, which is a tiny island. Many scenes for the film were actually shot in and around the village of Cong, County Mayo, on the grounds of Cong's Ashford Castle. Cong is now a wealthy small town and the castle a 5-star luxury hotel. The connections with the film have led to the area becoming a tourist attraction. In 2008, a pub opened in the building used as the pub in the film (it had actually been a shop at the time when the movie was shot); the pub hosts daily re-runs of the film on DVD. The Quiet Man Fan Club holds its annual general meeting in Ashford Castle each year. Other locations in the film include Thoor Ballylee, Co. Galway, home of poet W.B. Yeats for a period, Ballyglunin railway station near Tuam Co. Galway, which was filmed as Castletown station, and various places in Connemara Co. Galway and Co. Mayo. Among those are Lettergesh beach, where the race scene was filmed, the Quiet Man Bridge, signposted off the N59 road between Maam Cross and Oughterard and the "White O'Morn" cottage. The latter is located on R336 south of Maam, but has long fallen into ruin.
The film also presents John Ford's depiction of an idealized Irish society, with no social divisions based on class or religion. The Catholic priest, Father Lonergan and the Protestant Rev. Playfair maintain a strong friendly relationship throughout the film – which represented the norm in what was then the Irish Free State. (Religious tensions occurred in the 1930s, but were the norm only in Northern Ireland). The only allusions to Anglo-Irish animosity occur after the happy couple is married and a congratulatory toast expresses the wish that they live in "freedom", and before the final donnybrook when Thornton demands his wife's dowry from Danaher. Danaher asks one of the men in the crowd if the IRA had a hand in this, to which the reply was "If it were, not a scorched stone of your fine house would be left standing."
Roddy Doyle's 2010 novel "The Dead Republic" deals tangentially with this film.
John Ford chose his friend, Hollywood composer Victor Young, to compose the score for the film. For The Quiet Man, Young sprinkled the soundtrack with many Irish airs such as “The Rakes of Mallow” and “The Wild Colonial Boy”. One piece of music, chosen by John Ford himself, is most prominent, the melody “The Isle of Innisfree”, written not by Young, but by the Irish policeman/songwriter Richard Farrelly (Dick Farrelly), who wrote it on a bus journey from County Meath to Dublin. The melody of “The Isle of Innisfree” which is first heard over the opening credit sequence with Ashford Castle in the background becomes the principal musical theme of The Quiet Man. The melody is reprised at least eleven times throughout the film.
The upbeat melody comedically hummed by Michaeleen Oge Flynn and later played on the accordion is "The Rakes of Mallow".
Academy Awards 
|Best Director||John Ford|
|Best Cinematography||Winton C. Hoch
|Best Picture||John Ford
Merian C. Cooper
|Best Supporting Actor||Victor McLaglen|
|Best Art Direction||Frank Hotaling
John McCarthy Jr.
Charles S. Thompson
|Best Sound||Daniel J. Bloomberg
(Republic Sound Department)
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Frank S. Nugent|
Public reception 
The film was a financial success grossing $3.8 million in its first year of release. This was among the top ten grosses of the year. It was the seventh most popular movie for British audiences in 1952.
In popular culture 
The famous kissing scene between John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara is shown in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) when E.T. watches television. E.T. is interested and moved by the scene; his telepathic contact with Elliot causes the boy to re-enact it while he is at school.
See also 
- John Wayne filmography
- Marquess of Queensberry rules of boxing
- Innisfree, a 1990 Spanish documentary film about the making of The Quiet Man
- Jaunting car, the horse-drawn vehicle owned by Michaeleen Oge Flynn that is first seen delivering Sean to Innisfree at the beginning of the movie. Michaleen is seen using it throughout the movie as his main form of transportation and it is in the amusing courting scenes that it plays a greater role.
- 'Top Box-Office Hits of 1952', Variety, January 7, 1953
- Variety film review; May 14, 1952, p. 6.
- Harrison's Reports film review; May 17, 1952, p. 79.
- "Quiet Man fans can sup a stout in the film’s pub," Belfast Telegraph, August 25, 2008.
- "Quiet Man Trivia". IMDb. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "Quiet Man Bridge". Oughterard Tourism. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "Article from The Mirror, January 17, 2005". The Mirror. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "The 25th Academy Awards (1953) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- "NY Times: The Quiet Man". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- Gallagher, Tag John Ford: The Man and his Films (University of California Press 1986) p.499
- "COMEDIAN TOPS FILM POLL.". The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949–1953) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 28 December 1952. p. 4. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
Further reading 
- MacHale, Des (2004). Picture The Quiet Man. Appletree Press. ISBN 9780862819309. Includes an in-depth chapter on the film's score and the "Isle of Innisfree". No online access.
- McNee, Gerry (2012). In the Footsteps of the Quiet Man: The Inside Story of the Cult Film. Random House. ISBN 9781780574691. Narrative of the film's production.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: The Quiet Man|
- The Quiet Man at the Internet Movie Database
- The Quiet Man at the TCM Movie Database
- The Quiet Man at AllRovi
- The Quiet Man on Rotten Tomatoes
- The Quiet Man at Filmsite.org
- Quiet Man Fan Club
- The Quiet Man at Reel Classics
- The Quiet Man Cottage museum in Cong
- Dowling, William C., John Ford's Festive Comedy: Ireland Imagined in The Quiet Man
- Dick Farrelly, songwriter: Lyrics
- The Quiet Man Miscellany Cork University Press
- Dick Farrelly and 'The Isle of Innisfree'