THE QUIET MAN

(1952)
With John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Victor McLaglen, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond, Mildred Natwick, Francis Ford
Directed by John Ford
Reviewed by JL

Irish Foreplay     Few films have dated so much in terms of ethnic and sexual stereotypes, but never has there been a film in which any of that mattered so little.  It's the overwhelming beauty and passion of THE QUIET MAN that has endured, rendering it among the most beloved films of all time.  Besides which, it's set in a fairy-tale version of Ireland (where people really say things like "faith and begorrah"), which enables the film to define its own world and moral boundaries. 

     John Wayne, who projected unshakable inner strength better than any actor in history, proves in THE QUIET MAN that masculinity need not be compromised by sensitivity, just as Maureen O'Hara makes robust athleticism seem utterly feminine.  Wayne and O'Hara had an electric chemistry that made other famous screen couples such as Tracy and Hepburn seem chaste by comparison.  There's no question the Duke and Herself could reduce a bed to a pile of scrap wood (just as Barry Fitzgerald believes in the film, even when they've done no such thing...yet).  THE QUIET MAN was director John Ford's most personal project, and his heartfelt commitment is evident in every lush Technicolor frame.  It's a one-of-a-kind masterpiece: a love story that will melt the hearts of mannish lads who hate love stories, and a tale of brawny, brawlin' men that will stir the passions of the wee lasses.   - JL

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