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.