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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

The Quiet Man (1952)

Updated: Oct 16, 2022

Plot Summary: Sean Thornton (John Wayne) has returned from America to reclaim his homestead and escape his past. Soon his eye is caught by Mary Kate Danaher, a beautiful, fiery red-head who is the younger sister of an ill-tempered "Red Will" Danaher. The riotous relationship that forms between Sean and Mary Kate soon leads to their engagement and marriage only to have continued problems over Mary Kate's dowry.

*Recognition: Nominated for Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Victor McLaglen), Sound, Original Screenplay, and Art Direction, The Quiet Man won the Academy Award for Best Director for John Ford, his fourth, and for Best Cinematography. In 2013, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Did You Know:

  • At the film's conclusion, after the credits, we see Kate and Sean standing in their garden waving good-bye. Maureen O'Hara turns to John Wayne and whispers something in his ear, evoking a priceless reaction from Wayne. What was said was known only to O'Hara, Wayne and director John Ford. In exchange for saying this unscripted bit of text, O'Hara insisted that the exact line never be disclosed by any involved parties. In her memoirs she says that she refused to say the line at first as she "couldn't possibly say that to Duke", but Ford insisted, claiming he needed a genuine shock reaction from Wayne. The line remains a mystery to this day.

  • This is one of the few Hollywood films in which Gaelic (Gaeilge) the native Irish language--is spoken.

  • In the scene where John Wayne discovers Maureen O'Hara in his cottage, the wind whipped her hair so ferociously around her face she kept squinting. John Ford screamed at her in the strongest language to open her eyes. "What would a bald-headed son of a bitch know about hair lashing across his eyeballs," she shot back.

  • This was a significant departure for Republic Pictures, which specialized in low-budget westerns, comedies and war pictures. It was the company's first and only film to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

  • Barry Fitzgerald, who plays the character of the Roman Catholic Michaleen Oge Flynn, and Arthur Shields, who played the Protestant vicar Cyril 'Snuffy' Playfair, were brothers in real life. They also appeared together in director John Ford's The Long Voyage Home (1940). They were both Protestants born in Dublin, Ireland. Shields was the family name. The Oscar-winner Fitzgerald, who was nearly eight years older than his brother, was born William Joseph Shields.

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: Unrealized Dreams versus an Abundance of Pride

Best Performance: Maureen O'Hara (Mary Kate Danaher)

Best Secondary Performance: Ward Bond (Father Lonergan)/John Ford (Director)

Most Charismatic Award: Barry Fitzgerald (Micheleen)/Ireland-Inishfree (Setting)

Best Scene:

  • Boxing Cutaway

  • Opening at the Station

  • The Fight

  • Father Lonergan Fishing

  • Negotiating for White O'Morn

  • The Deception

Favorite Scene: Father Lonergan Fishing/The Deception

Most Indelible Moment: March from the Train

In Memorium: Yaphet Kotto (81, Live and Let Die and Alien)

Best Lines:

"Red Will" Danaher: He'll regret it till his dying day, if ever he lives that long.

Mary Kate Danaher: Could you use a little water in your whiskey?

Michaleen Flynn: When I drink whiskey, I drink whiskey; and when I drink water, I drink water.

Funniest Line:

Woman at Railroad Station: Sir!... Sir!... Here's a good stick, to beat the lovely lady.

The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 5.5

Impact/Significance: 5.75

Novelty: 5.25

Classic-ness: 3.5

Rewatchability: 4

Audience Score: 8.95 (88% Google, 91% RT)

Total: 32.95

Remaining Questions:

  • How many punches can two men take while still being able to stand?

  • Why was Inisfree and White O'Morn like Heaven?

  • Is 1952 one of the worst Oscar years?

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