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The Quiet Man (1952)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  14 September 1952 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 24,133 users  
Reviews: 203 user | 82 critic

A retired American boxer returns to the village where he was born in Ireland, where he finds love.

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Title: The Quiet Man (1952)

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Francis Ford ...
Dan Tobin
Eileen Crowe ...
Mrs. Elizabeth Playfair
May Craig ...
Arthur Shields ...
Reverend Cyril Playfair
Charles B. Fitzsimons ...
Hugh Forbes (as Charles FitzSimons)
James O'Hara ...
Father Paul (as James Lilburn)
Sean McClory ...
Owen Glynn (as Sean McGlory)
...
Ignatius Feeney (as Jack McGowran)
Joseph O'Dea ...
Molouney - Train Guard
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Storyline

Sean Thornton has returned from America to reclaim his homestead and escape his past. Sean's eye is caught by Mary Kate Danaher, a beautiful but poor maiden, and younger sister of ill-tempered "Red" Will Danaher. The riotous relationship that forms between Sean and Mary Kate, punctuated by Will's pugnacious attempts to keep them apart, form the main plot, with Sean's past as the dark undercurrent. Written by Steve Fenwick <scf@w0x0f.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

widow | cottage | ireland | train | boxer | See All (109) »

Taglines:

Action...Excitement...Romance...Fill the Screen !

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 September 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Sieger  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Locals in the town of Cong, where location shooting took place, were understandably excited and thrilled to have the production there. Many of them got work on the set, including Joe Mellotte, whose job it was to stand by John Wayne and provide him with cigarettes throughout the day. But their enthusiasm also caused continuity nightmares because they were always hanging around the set, popping in and out of scenes where they shouldn't have been. See more »

Goofs

In the race meeting scene, two pipers are shown playing. The pipes they are playing are Scottish pipes characterized by having one bass and two tenor drones in addition to the chanter, traditional Irish pipes only have one bass and one tenor drone plus the chanter. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Father Peter Lonergan, Narrator: Well, then. Now. I'll begin at the beginnin'. A fine soft day in the spring, it was, when the train pulled into Castletown, three hours late as usual, and himself got off. He didn't have the look of an American tourist at all about him. Not a camera on him; what was worse, not even a fishin' rod.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Irish Cinema: Ourselves Alone? (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Barbary Bell
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Woman's Film, Aye, But I Like It Too
12 November 2004 | by (Greenwich, CT United States) – See all my reviews

Maureen O'Hara in Technicolor is surely any Irishman's dream, and "The Quiet Man" would be timeless for that alone. But O'Hara's performance is all the more indelible for the great good humor she bestows on her character, Mary Kate Danaher. Let's face it; with any other actress, this could have been a disaster.

Sean Thornton (John Wayne) comes back to County Mayo, his birthplace, to find a peace he lost tragically back home in America. He immediately discovers some old friends, and a new one, too, Mary Kate, who while herding sheep stares back at him in what James Joyce might have called "a significant manner."

Director John Ford elects to shoot O'Hara from an odd angle, and with an unusual overhead shadow crossing O'Hara's face, that in anyone else's hands would have totally blown the shot but here creates something, well, "Homerific." It's one of many amazing shots in a film that seems more painted than photographed, and is perhaps the most strikingly lovely film ever made.

The shot of O'Hara looking back at Wayne also clues you onto something else, that this is going to be her story as much as it is Thornton's. In fact, it's really more about her than it is about him, a film about romance and a woman's liberation at the hands of her lover. We call them "chick flicks" today. But since John Wayne is the nominal star and no one ever confused Ford with Douglas Sirk, "The Quiet Man" isn't popularly regarded this way.

It's fun to read all the comments about poor Mary Kate and how this film glamorizes the mistreatment of women. They have one thing right, it's a film about spousal domination, but it's the wife ruling the husband. Think about it: She makes her lover do just about everything he does in the film, even risk bodily injury at the hands of her brutish brother (she doesn't know about his past and thinks she married "a coward.") People complain that he drags her across a dung-covered field, while a helpful woman hands him a stick "to beat the lovely lady with." But of course it's Mary Kate who's in total control of the situation. She wants Thornton to fight for her, in every sense of the word, and won't make it easy. She wants him to adapt to her culture, rather than adapt to his. (She's not one to be "honked at," as she puts it.) It's not surprising she trips and falls at one point while Thornton pulls her across a field; probably one of those puppet strings of hers got in the way.

But there are worse things in life than being enslaved by the likes of Maureen O'Hara, like not being enslaved by the likes of Maureen O'Hara. She's not only beautiful and pure-hearted, but such a hilarious joy to be around. O'Hara plays up the comedy of her scenes very well; she could have opted for a more regal distance from the slapstick but plays it as rowdy as the rest instead. The scene when she spits in her hand before shaking with matchmaker Michaleen Flynn (Barry Fitzgerald, who gives the next-best performance after O'Hara) tells you who she is better than any of her many sexy moments on screen. It also gets back to the point of why she's so essential in this film. She is Ireland, the spirit of Erin, and you want her to win, not because she's so pretty but because you know she's good and right for Sean, too.

About the only things wrong with the film are the action sequences, the horse race and the fistfight between Sean and Mary Kate's brother. It's not because the scenes aren't terrific, but because they are so abbreviated, especially the fistfight, which feels likes its building to something even funnier and more rousing than what's come before when it just sort of stops. Ford apparently had to do some cutting to get his film in at the required length, and with his focus as much on Mary Kate as possible, probably preferred to trim the scenes that had the least to do with her. But since the focus on O'Hara is what makes the film anyway, this is a small matter. Wayne fans wanting more action will just have to content themselves with almost every other film the Duke ever made.

Seeing this film for the first time reminded me a lot of "Local Hero," the 1982 comedy. Not only is "The Quiet Man" also a fish-out-of-water story about an American in the British Isles (Scotland in "Local Hero"), both films maintain a very delicate balancing act between whimsy and pathos, with "The Quiet Man," siding on the former direction and "Local Hero" the latter. Definitely worth checking out the one if you saw and liked the other. But "Quiet Man" was there first.


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