|review by Peter Jordan Full Review List|
The Quiet Man
Adapted, for an indigenous audience, from a previously published review for the Internet Movie Database (IMDB)
"It's not only the fact that I'm actually from Mayo, which admittedly might account for some degree of bias, that causes me to declare that The Quiet Man ranks as my favorite movie of all time. This legendary film, a good part of which was filmed on location in Cong and other parts of Mayo and Galway in the summer of 1951, has damn near everything for everyone in it without being offensive to anyone (Though the occasional hypersensitive Irish person or Feminist or "Yank" could (and have) taken what I regard as totally unfounded offense at the various pokes of fun that are made at various traditions, in much the same way I suppose as those that rioted at Synges "Playboy of the Western World" at the beginning of the last century!)
For the romantics this movie has romance in abundance and possibly some of the most famously erotic (and much copied - A further indication of how high in esteem this movie is held) scenes ever put on celluloid (without ever more that an absolute minimum of bare flesh being exposed to satisfy the puritans). Steven Spielburg most famously gives the cottage kissing scene the nod in "ET" and it was said of the "Wet shirt" Graveyard kissing scene in the rain that, during the many takes it took to get it in the can, Director John Ford only got John Wayne to do everything he wanted to do to Maureen O'Hara himself.
For the action fan it has probably the longest and one of the most enthralling (and funny) fight scenes of any movie.
For the comics the entire film is laced with Irishisms and good humor and wild banter and loads of "craic".
For the weepies it has tragedy and death and a haunting from the past.
And for the pure sentimental, including myself, the film has my beautiful dear Mayo lavishly and lovingly displayed in glorious technicolor, compliments of Winston C Hoch and Archie Stout which deservedly won it an Oscar for cinematography.
And it has all this and more...
If one cares to delve deeper it touches on themes of Shakespeare (Taming of the Shrew) and the best traditions of Irish literature (The aforementioned John Millington Synge, George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats).
Testament to its greatness are the many books and documentaries that have been created about it in its wake (Try Castlebar Native, Des McHales "The Complete Guide to the Quiet Man" or Gerry McEntees' "In the footsteps of the Quiet Man" for starters!) along with the many tourist that still visit Cong in search of their own dream Inishfree.
I've lost count how many times I've seen this movie both in Ireland and in exile both here in the US and in England, but suffice to say that at this stage I can now quote liberally from such classic lines as Feeney's: "Quiet if you please, Parliamentary procedure, Squire Danagher has the floor" or Micheleen Og Flynn's "Homeric, impetuous" upon viewing the marriage bed of Sean and Mary Kate and coming to his own conclusions on the events that may have occurred in it.
After owning a variety of VHS (both Pal and US versions) of the movie I've finally purchased the DVD also which allows one (If one so wishes) to watch every frame of the movie digitally remastered (Although apart from the claimed "digital remastering" which if anything, overdoes the technicolor effect, the DVD offers nothing more than the previously available VHS video which included a documentary "The Making of the Quiet Man" presented by Leonard Maltin) - However if you are a fanatic like me or Quiet Maniacs as we are sometimes known, the DVD version does allow you to effortlessly jump to favorite scenes or catch a glimpse of such things as a fly landing on Maureen O'Hara cheek during one shot or (In a daring unintentionally risque scene for the restrained and censored 1950's) her momentarily exposing her underwear whilst jumping over a trunk at Castletown railway station.
If you haven't seen this movie (and I'm increasingly surprised and disappointed how many of the younger Blockbuster and Xtravision New Release weaned movie viewers haven't, sadly even more so amongst young Irish people) get yerself down to yer local video rental now and look in the classic shelves for one of those classics that is sure to be there alongside Ben Hur, Gone with the Wind and Casablanca and rent it out for a great night's entertainment. Better still go and buy a copy 'cos once you've viewed it once like me you'll most likely be hooked and will want to watch it again and again (Even sometimes late at night, round Christmastime, sipping a hot whiskey!)"