‘The Quiet Man’ speaks volumes

BY RICK BALDWIN

Sun Columnist

Top o’ the morning to you, my fellow cinephiles of Winchester!

With each passing year, I grow fonder of my roots, my family’s heritage and our history. With the passing of St. Patrick’s Day, when everyone is Irish, I long to visit the village of Cork, from where my grandmother’s family hails. I have come to value my family and our origins, keeping them close to my heart like a leprechaun protecting his pot of gold. In staying with the theme and my yearning to return to my homeland, join me to take a wee look at today’s feature to discuss, the award-winning romantic comedy drama, “The Quiet Man” (1952).

American boxer Sean Thornton (John “Rio Bravo” Wayne) returns to his native homeland of Ireland to the fictional village of Inisfree on the search of peace after accidentally killing an opponent in the ring. Thornton has his heart set on buying his family’s old property only to find that it is in the possession of tenant and village bully Will Danaher (Victor “The Unholy Three”) McLaglen. It doesn’t take long for Thornton to fall for Danaher’s fiery red-headed beauty of a sister Mary Kate (Maureen “Rio Grande” O’ Hara) while in cahoots with the village priest Father Lonergan (Ward “It’s a Wonderful Life” Bond) and matchmaker Flynn (Barry “Bringing up Baby” Fitzgerald) to regain his land from landlord Widow Tillane (Mildred “The Trouble with Harry” Natwick), win the girl and outsmart the Danaher as he stakes his claim to rebuild his life in the Irish village.

“The Quiet Man” was directed by John “The Grapes of Wrath” Ford with a screenplay by Frank “The Searchers” Nugent based on a 1933 Saturday Evening Post short story of the same title by Maurice “Trouble in the Glen” Walsh. Due to its lush Irish green charm of a countryside setting, shot on location in County Mayo and County Galway, it has become a tradition by many to view this American classic annually on St. Patrick’s Day, and for good reason. “The Quiet Man” was a box office success upon its release and is visually stunning due to being filmed in Technicolor with the mastery in part by cinematographers Winton C. “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” Hoch and Archie “Fort Apache” Stout. Ford. Hoch, and Stout would go on to win Academy Awards the following year for Best Director and Best Cinematography for their contributions to “The Quiet Man.”

If you are one of the many who have still not had a chance to take a gander of this fun film, you may be familiar by hearing about through pop culture or seeing a clip of the epic scene between Thornton and Danaher partake in fisticuffs which is a massive brawl through multiple locations through the village. The long fistfight is a perfect blend of action, comedy, and storytelling that will make you want to whip up some Irish cream. This fight has been influential to many directors in latter years, it was paid homage in the hilarious and long fistfight between Roddy Piper and Keith David in John Carpenter’s “They Live” (1988).

So, if you missed watching “The Quiet Man” or celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, don’t fret as it’s never too late to get your shamrock on or reconnect with your homeland. Try your luck and check out “The Quiet Man,” and your soul will agree that it’s magically delicious.

May the road rise up to meet you, and have a film-tastic day!