Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Film Night - The Quiet Man

This Friday at The Pink Heart Society our very own Trish Wylie is back again to tell us about a film that will always, always hold a very special place in her heart ~ The Quiet Man


And not just for all the reasons I'm about to tell you about - but because it will forevermore hold a special place in my heart as it was my Father's favourite film of all time. He would watch it over and over and over and never tire of it. I wish now as I write this I could ask him what it was he loved so much - but as he died when I was seventeen I can only tell you why I love it so much and say - Dad - this review is for you. And somewhat poignantly only a day after the date you died...

Apparently when director John Ford pitched the idea for this movie to Hollywood producers, he was told that it was a "silly Irish story that won't make a penny." And yet over 50 years after it was made it remains a favourite the world over!!! Why? Well quite simply - it's GORGEOUS and FUNNY and ENDEARING and has the kind of LOVE STORY that can stand the test of time - and that's before you even add John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara to the mix!

John Wayne talked of his fondness for this film in an interview shortly before he died, saying: "I enjoyed things like The Quiet Man, the relationship with Maureen O'Hara, because it was healthy and strong..and it was still sensual, but not degrading..." And if you know the movie you'll know the passion between the characters of Sean and Mary-Kate is so palpable throughout the story it practically seeps off the screen. So on to the story...

Father Peter - Narrator: Well, then. Now. I'll begin at the beginnin'. A fine soft day in the spring, it was, when the train pulled into Castletown, three hours late as usual, and himself got off. He didn't have the look of an American tourist at all about him. Not a camera on him; what was worse, not even a fishin' rod.

Sean Thornton is a gentle giant of an American who has returned to his native Ireland, leaving his career as a prize fighter with the memory of a blow he delivered which accidentally killed an opponent. Burdened with guilt, he seeks peace and comfort in the Irish village of his birth. As Sean steps from the train he finds himself greeted by a group of very Irish characters who he very politely tries to find directions from to the town of Innisfree... Luckily, available to drive him them is little Michaeleen Oge Flynn (Barry FitzGerald), with a horse and carriage at his service. Michaeleen is the local matchmaker and bookmaker - two jobs he does very well, especially when fortified with a wee bit of liquid strength.

The ride across the lush Irish countryside then introduces two new characters. Father Peter Lonergan, out for a walk, stops for an introduction to Sean "Come home from America" and remembering Sean as a child extends a welcome home and an invitation for mass the next day.

Father Peter: Ah, yes... I knew your people, Sean. Your grandfather; he died in Australia, in a penal colony. And your father, he was a good man too.

But it's the introduction of the next character that sticks in your mind most as, while Sean waits for Michaeleen to have a little private talk with Father Lonergan, he walks into a picturesque area of towering trees and lights a cigarette. And then, there in the distant meadow, in perhaps one of the most breathtakingly romantic of entrances - Mary Kate Danaher - walking through the green.... But this barefoot, innocent Irish lass then delivers a very uninhibited glance of obvious interest at the tall stranger - employing John Ford's belief that more can be said in a single glance than in pages of dialogue...

Sean: "Is she real? She couldn't be!"

Seeing her in Mass the next day confirms she's very real and Sean bids her a somewhat eager "good morning" before shocking all and sundry by offering her Holy Water from his hand...

Michaeleen: "And who taught you to be playing patty fingers in the Holy Water?"

Henceforth begins Michaeleen's tutorial of Irish culture and tradition to *help Sean out* - at times hilariously I should add! And naturally Sean's quite happy to learn the lovely red-headed lass is single and once he's settled he can pursue her in earnest. But a hiccup in this great plan (as there always is - eh category fans???) arrives when Sean learns that his purchase of the cottage where he was born "White O'Mornin" puts him at odds with none other than Red Will Danaher, Mary Kate's giant of a brother (Victor McLaglen). Apparently Will has wanted to buy the property for many years from the owner, the wealthy Widow Tillane, and having long been smitten with the widow, he fancied the property "adjacent to me own" would put him closer to marriage. Will is then, naturally, enraged when the widow sells it to Sean. Not a good start in his bid for Mary Kate really, is it??? 'Cos of course you gotta remember in those days the elder brother had a say in his sister's marriage when their parents were gone - and is he really likely to hand her over to the American who skipped in and ruined his own plans???

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

The conflict begins in earnest when Sean then has a confrontation with Will in the local pub, Will telling him: "Stay away from my sister Mary Kate...she's not for the likes of you." So, with sleeping bag in hand, Sean makes his way to the cottage (at that point a rather hollow victory you gotta say knowing he has his home but no chance of the girl!). It's stormy when he sees the cottage for the first time - but as he gets closer there's smoke curling from the chimney and a dim light from inside - so he enters cautiously, finding a fire in the hearth and a broom lying near a pile of leaves... An intruder? Yes indeedy - he has surprised his mysterious visitor - a visitor who's now hiding - Guess who ladies??? This is a GORGEOUS scene, as Sean attempts to flush out his intruder and Mary Kate barely gets to the door before Sean reaches for her, and hauls her back into the cottage. For a brief moment she struggles at arms length to break his hold and then, in perfect timing, as the wind from the open door whips her hair and clothing about her, Sean reels her in, slamming her against him, bending her backwards, and kissing her passionately! *Sigh* SEE WHAT I MEAN ABOUT HOW GORGEOUS THIS IS??? Pure escapism gals!

When she gathers her wits about her, Mary Kate then lets fly with a powerful swing which Sean blocks and:

Mary Kate: It's a bold one you are! Who gave you leave to be kissin' me?

Sean: So you can talk!

Mary Kate: Yes I can, I will and I do! And it's more than talk you'll be gettin' if you step a step closer to me!

Sean: Don't worry - you've got a wallop!

Mary Kate: You'll get over it, I'm thinkin'.

Sean: Well, some things a man doesn't get over so easy.

Mary Kate: Like what, supposin'?

Sean: Like the sight of a girl coming through the fields with the sun on her hair... kneeling in church with a face like a saint...

Mary Kate: Saint indeed!

Sean: ...and now coming to a man's house to clean it for him.

Mary Kate: But... that was just my way of bein' a good Christian act.

Sean: I know it was, Mary Kate Danaher. And it was nice of you.

Mary Kate: Not at all.

Do I need to write more? 'Cos it only gets better from here on in as Sean then tries to court Mary Kate the proper way - using matchmaker Michaeleen. Tries to negotiate for her hand - with bull headed brother Will. Gets married to her - only to discover he's married a real spit-fire who doesn't consider herself married to a *real man* when he refuses to fight her brother for the furniture that made up her dowry and therefore is rightfully hers... She even locks the door on their wedding night:

Sean: There'll be no locks or bolts between us, Mary Kate... except those in your own mercenary little heart!

Of course she doesn't really WANT to turn him away - but she wants her dowry to make up her home - and she wants her husband to be the kind of man who can stand up to her brother. But she doesn't know about his past - and it takes her to attempt leaving before Sean eventually loses his temper enough to go to the station to drag her back - the ABSOLUTE bestest scene ever put on a screen in my humble opinion!!! He drags her back - on foot - from the train station to Inisfree - a crowd rapidly building behind them to witness the final confrontation between Sean and Red Will...

Fishwoman with basket following in the crowd from the station: Sir!... Sir!... Here's a good stick, to beat the lovely lady.

I tell you - this film is just MAGICAL. I doubt there will ever be another quite like it. And it's the kind of film the whole family can enjoy - trust me! John Wayne, rugged and all as he is, is FABULOUS as the romantic lead and the simmering passion between him and Maureen O'Hara's character could teach us writers many's a thing I feel... If you've seen it you'll know what I mean and if you haven't GET THEE TO FIND IT RIGHT NOW. It's a keeper. Truly.

Warm and Fuzzy Rating: another 10 out of 10!!!

And you can watch it again and again and again and again and... well... you just can...

Good choice Dad.

H's & K's


Trish's next release is a little bit of a hidden surprise...

As part of Sexy Sensation's first birthday next month her Modern Extra The Return Of The Rebel is a bonus read inside Susan Napier's book Accidental Mistress ~ but as it's not flagged you'll have to go hunting for it!

You can pre-order the book here if you want to make sure not to miss the follow up story to Trish's book Breathless!

For more info you can check out Trish's Website or Her Blog...

Are you in to try and win tonnes of goodies with The PINK HEART SOCIETY TREASURE HUNT???

The FINAL Birthday Present for the Lil Pink Dancing Guy can be found at India Grey's Blog...



  1. I haven't watched that movie in years and years. I've added it to my Amazon rental list. Surely John Wayne was an archetypal alpha male - albeit of his time.

  2. My Dad loves this movie, too! I think it quite possibly has the longest fight scene in any film as it goes all over the fields and countryside as the two men battle it out.

    Great stuff!

  3. Oh that was a blast from the past. My dad was from Kerry, Eire, and he adored this film. And my mum's name was Kathleen! It is probably too whimsical for the cynical audience of today, but the characters and locations are spot on. You have to love that beach scene with the horse race.
    Thank you for the memory.

  4. My mom is not a huge John Wayne fan, but she loves this movie and we watch it every year, usually around St. Patrick's Day. Every actor is perfectly cast. It is one of those movies that leaves you with wonderful smile at the end.

  5. What e-mail addy do we use for the Treasure Hunt contest? Thanks.

  6. This post holds a special place in my heart as well. I can remember watching it with my own family while I was growing up. I think my family could relate to it, especially my mother as she had very distinct, eccentric Irish roots. I still look for it on the movie channel every year... Oh, and there's a very big Maine connection to this movie. John Ford lived in Portland, Maine and the Irish Heritage Center holds a John Ford film festival every year in his honor. We gladly claim him as one of our own, just as it should be.

  7. Great choice, Trish. And Dad. Makes me want to head back to Ireland posthaste.

  8. Off topic: do the slides on this web page make anyone else's computer jam up? It keeps pausing - the scroll will pause then jump as the slide loads, then there's constant delays even while I type this comment. Would you consider losing the slideshows? I don't visit as much as I would like as the site is so clunky.



  9. Trish, I love this movie too -- and so did my dad who was from Dundalk. It always made him laugh. But I love that great kissing scene in the derelict cottage.

    Wayne was the achetypal alpha male yes - and his politics were right wing enough to put me off a bit, but there was a tender side to his toughness that floors you when it peaks out.

    Even Marxist French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard was won over by it when he said of Wayne in the final scene of The Searchers (which just pips The Quiet Man as my favourite Wayne movie, me being a sucker for cowboys) 'How can I hate John Wayne and yet love him tenderly?' Aww shucks.