The Quiet Man

Movie Information

In Brief: John Ford and John Wayne scored one of their biggest — and perhaps best-loved — hits with this unassuming Irish comedy about a retired American boxer (Wayne) migrating to Ireland and the trouble and love he finds there. On the downside, the movie really is too long, and the attitudes about the roles of men and woman are on the archaic side. On the plus side, there's a first-rate cast, a savvy screenplay, the most gorgeous Irish countryside imaginable and a generous heart. It's not really a great film, but it's an endearing one.
Genre: Comedy Romance
Director: John Ford
Starring: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Victor McLaglen, Ward Bond, Mildred Natwick, Arthur Shields
Rated: NR

The Quiet Man (1952)—despite its excessive length and its somewhat antiquated notions of relationships—is one of the most pleasing of John Ford’s collaborations with John Wayne. It might rank second to 1963’s Donovan’s Reef, but the pleasures of seeing Ford bask in The Quiet Man‘s Irish locations (yes, these are augmented with some studio work) counts for much. The story about an American boxer (Wayne) who has retired to Ireland is simplicity itself—even the whole backstory about why Wayne’s character won’t fight is on the flimsy side (in fact, it’s on the clichéd side where boxing yarns are concerned).

That, actually, is the film’s great charm—the fact that it’s a simple romance built around comic set-pieces and clever observations. (The amusement the locals take in the yank painting his door green is a lovely touch as concerns American notions.) It’s a light film—it has no deeper purpose other than to showcase its Irish setting and entertain, but that’s all it needs to do. Ford has surrounded himself here by his stock company (and hangers-on), which imbues the film with something of the sense of an elaborate home movie—and that’s not at all a bad thing. In fact, it’s a very agreeable one.

The Hendersonville Film Society will show The Quiet Man Sunday, March 16, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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