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The Quiet Man (1952)


John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara
John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara

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'The Quiet Man' is a romantic drama movie made in 1952, directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara with Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond and Victor McLaglen.

The movie was a major commercial success and was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and won two Oscars, for Best Director for John Ford (his fourth such win), and for Best Cinematography for Winton Hoch for his photography of the beautiful Irish countryside.

In 2002, The Quiet Man was rated number seventy-six in the AFI's list of one hundred greatest film love stories. It became Republic's most acclaimed film and its biggest ever moneymaker. In addition it provided a tremendous boost to the Irish tourism industry.

In 2013 the Library of Congress selected 'The Quiet Man' for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

Plot

John Wayne plays Sean Thornton, an American boxer who returns to the Irish town of his birth searching for happiness and trying to forget his accidental killing of an opponent in the ring. Maureen O'Hara plays Mary Kate Danaher, the hot tempered sister of local squire and land baron, Will Danaher, played by Victor McLaglen. Thornton finds a beautiful wife but is unable to escape his past.

Production

The movie was based on a 1933 Saturday Evening Post short story of the same name by Irish novelist, Maurice Walsh, later published as part of a collection The Green Rushes. John Ford originally read the story in 1933, and three years later purchased the rights for just $10 (although Maurice Walsh later received another $6,000 in payment for the rights when the film was actually made.)

In 1950 when Ford signed a deal with the Republic studio he promised a doubting president of Republic, Herbert J. Yates that he would direct 'Rio Grande' in return for funding for 'The Quiet Man'. 'Rio Grande' proved to be a huge success and Ford got to make his movie. It represented a significant step for Republic Pictures, which until that time had specialized in low-budget pictures, particularly westerns, comedies and war films. It became the company's first and only film to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

Ford brought together his "repertory company," a group of actors he used again and again, including John Wayne as the title character and Maureen O'Hara whom Ford considered the only actress who could stand up to Wayne, as the female lead. Additional Ford stalwarts such as Victor McLaglen, Mildred Natwick, and Ward Bond were also featured. The budget of $1,750,000 was a huge investment for the studio and John Ford persuaded Wayne and Maureen O'Hara to work for well below their standard rates.

Charles B. Fitzsimons who played Hugh Forbes and James O'Hara who played Father Paul were in real life the younger brothers of Maureen O'Hara.

The project went into production in 1951. Filming in Ireland lasted eight weeks, with the cast being housed during the shoot at Ashford Castle. John Wayne got his first experience of directing during the movie, When Ford came down with a cold/ Wayne directed the horse race sequences and other scenes in his absence.

The famous fight scene at the end was carefully planned to make it more interesting. The fighters were instructed to use long, "roundhouse" punches rather than the more effective and economical short jabs that a real fighter would use.

Locations

Filming took place near Galway, Ireland, in Connemara, and Teernakil, where the cottage "White O'Mornin" stood. Exteriors of "Innisfree", a fictional location, were filmed in the village of Cong in County Mayo. The local Cong grocery store was converted into Cohan's pub. After shooting completed, the owner of the store decided to leave the pub sign up in front of his business. The premises later became a souvenir shop and in 2008 was turned into a real pub.

The horse racing sequence was filmed on location at Lettergesh beach, Connemara, on Ireland's west coast.

Most interior filming took place at the studio's Burbank lot on sets made to perfectly replicate the originals in Ireland./p>

Music

"The Rakes of Mallow" and "The Kerry Dancers" are two of numerous Irish pub tunes which composer Victor Young incorporated into his beautiful score.

Main Cast

John Wayne ... Sean Thornton
Maureen O'Hara... Mary Kate Danaher
Barry Fitzgerald ... Michaeleen Oge Flynn
Victor McLaglen ... Squire "Red" Will Danaher
Ward Bond... Father Peter Lonergan
Mildred Natwick ... the Widow Sarah Tillane
Francis Ford ... Dan Tobin
Arthur Shields ... Rev. Cyril Playfair
Eileen Crowe ... Elizabeth Playfair
Charles FitzSimons ... Hugh Forbes
James Fitzsimons (as James Lilburn) ... Father Paul
Sean McClory ... Owen Glynn
Emily Eby ... Mave Campbell
Jack MacGowran ... Ignatius Feeney
Philip Stainton ... Anglican Bishop
May Craig ... Fishwoman with Basket at Station
Paddy O'Donnell ... Railway porter
Eric Gorman ... Costello - Engine driver
Kevin Lawless ... Engine fireman
Joseph O'Dea ... Molouney - Train guard

Credits

Director ... John Ford
Producer ... Merian C. Cooper, John Ford, Michael Killanin
Screenplay ... Frank S. Nugent, Richard Llewellyn
Based on ... The Quiet Man, 1933 story by Maurice Walsh
Music ... Victor Young
Cinematography ... Winton C. Hoch, Archie Stout
Distributed by United Artists
Release date ... April 13, 1957
Running time ... 96 minutes

Academy Awards

Two Wins:
Best Director ... John Ford
Best Cinematography ... Winton C. Hoch
Five Unsuccessful Nominations:
Best Picture ... Merian C. Cooper, John Ford
Best Supporting Actor ... Victor McLaglen
Best Writing (Screenplay) ... Frank S. Nugent
Best Art/Set Direction ...Frank Hotaling, John McCarthy Jr., Charles Thompson
Best Sound Recording ... Daniel J. Bloomberg, Sound Director