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 <email@example.com>
Several scenes were shot that never appeared in the movie: Mary speaking in Gaelic to greet Sean for the first time; a scene where Father Lonergan and Michaleen discuss betting on horses (deemed offensive because he is a priest); Wayne's first scene on the train, where he speaks to a mother and her child gives him an apple (in the existing opening scene, Wayne deboards the train holding the apple and thanks the unseen child). See more »
Before Sean enters Mary Kate's home to ask her brother's permission to court her, the flowers he's carrying are very sad looking. After he enters the house, they change into a nice, full, colorful bouquet. See more »
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.
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The Quiet Man is a wonderfully layered and at times hilariously ironic portrayal of Ireland as seen by an American.
For those who doubt the film's sense of irony, just re-watch the scene where Sean (John Wayne) paints the door of his cottage. The Vicar's wife remarks on its beauty and in a deadpan manner suggests "only an American would have thought of Emerald Green". Only an American (or a foreigner), is the implication, would think that the picturebook Ireland they are seeing in this film is a realistic portrayal of a lived experience of the country. An Irish person would have painted the door red, she says. It weathers better that way.
The film takes ideas of Irishness and exaggerates them to brilliant and comic effect. The drinking Mickaleen, the patriarchal rule, the idyllic countryside. But beneath the Oirish exterior is a sharp intelligence and a subversion of what the film at first glance seems to suggest.
Beneath the idyllic countryside are elemental forces that are waiting to be disturbed, as we see in the two scenes where Sean and Mary-kate kiss. Storm clouds fill the sky and the wind whips about them. The countryside which previously seemed so welcoming is now tempestuous and threatening. Theirs are passions which do not fit in the comic book world which we have previously seen. Yet they exist.
The portrayal of women, and particularly Sean's treatment of Mary-Kate when he drags her through the field is not so oppressive as it might seem. Remember that it is her who insists on receiving her dowry, who equates her possessions to her worth. It is she who forces Sean to act the way he does and fight Will Danaher. She indoctrinates him into her society by threatening to leave him. She withholds the marital bed. Sean eventually becomes the man she wants him to be.
In short this is a portrayal of Irish, or more importantly, rural life that is very much from the point of view of the outsider. Of the city folk. Yet it always acknowledges that and has great fun playing with its stereotypes. Its funny, its romantic, it appeals to the part of us that yearns to live a simple life away from the complex world, much as we know that life does not exist. Enjoy it!
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