An American man moves to rural Ireland to the village of
his birth and falls in love with a strong-willed Irish woman.
The Quiet Man (1952)
Directed by John Ford
Written by Frank S. Nugent
Starring John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald,
Ward Bond, Victor McLaglen, Mildred Natwick, Arthur Shields
Oscar Wins - Best Director, Best Cinematography
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor
(Victor McLaglen), Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Mixing
The Quiet Man is a delightful dramedy featuring John Wayne in one of the few roles where he played against type. Instead of the usual fearless American hero, Wayne's role as Sean Thornton is reserved, hopeful, and haunted by the mistakes of his past. It's an interesting character for Wayne to take on, and I think it's one of his best. His chemistry with Maureen O'Hara cements The Quiet Man as timeless, though there are a few romantic moments that seemingly blur the line of consent, but that happened quite a lot in films before the 70's. I mean, hell, in Goldfinger, Bond forces himself on a woman and he's still our hero. But I digress.
John Wayne is Sean Thornton, a quiet American who moves to the village he was born in and buys his old family property. This angers local bully Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen), who had his eye on the place, and a rivalry starts between Thornton and Danaher. What makes matters worse is Thornton has fallen for Danaher's sister Mary Kate (O'Hara), and a difficult courtship begins. The most entertaining part of the film is watching the townsfolk, who all adore Thornton, hatch their little schemes to get Thornton and Mary Kate together, as the rules of Irish courtship are far more stringent than American dating, especially in the 1950's.
I enjoyed The Quiet Man a lot more than I thought I would. It's surprisingly hilarious, and it has a lot of heart. It shows off the beauty and rural charm of Ireland, and it's only a bit offensive with the typical stereotypes it presents. This is your atypical John Wayne adventure, and it really is unlike any of his westerns or war films. But it's cute.