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The Quiet Man (1952)

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Article 1

Irish Eyes Smile on the Duke

by Crosby Day

The Orlando Sentinel, 11 February 1996  page 61

The Quiet Man is director John Ford's most successful examination of a love affair in his 50 years of filmmaking. It is a broadly comic and sentimental story about an ex-prizefighter, Sean Thornton (John Wayne), who returns to the Ireland of his ancestors and falls under the spell of fiery colleen Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O'Hara).

The Quiet Man was filmed in 1952 in County Mayo, Ireland.

The film features an outstanding cast, including Victor McLaglen as Mary Kate's bragging and bully brother, Red Will Danaher; and Ward Bond as local priest, Father Peter Lonergan, who would rather fish than preach.

The Quiet Man also is something of an interfamily affair. Brothers Barry Fitzgerald  and Arthur Shields portray the village cabman/matchmaker and Protestant clergyman, respectively. Four of Wayne's seven children, two sons (including Patrick Wayne) and two daughters appear in the film. Ford's son-in-law, Ken Curtis, portrays Dermot Fahy, while O'Hara's younger brother, Charles FitzSimmons, is cast as Forbes.

In addition, Ford's brother, longtime actor Francis Ford, plays the white-bearded man Dan Tobin. The film marked Francis Ford's 29th appearance in a film directed by his brother. This despite the fact that they did not socialize. Years earlier the brothers had a falling out and hardly spoke to each other on the set - only nodding to each other after the completion of the scene. Francis Ford would receive his acting assignments by mail from his director brother. The rift between the two was never mended.

Director Ford also used members of the Irish Abbey Theater in The Quiet Man, including Jack McGowran, who plays Feeney, a hanger-on who writes down all the names of Danaher's enemies.

Wayne, MacLaglen and Bond were Ford regulars for years. And another member of the Ford film family, silent film star Mae Marsh, is cast as the young priest's mother.

The lengthy fight scene between Thorton [sic] (Wayne) and Danaher (McLaglen), which is one of the longest in film history, took four days to film. Wayne later said that he and McLaglen never laid a hand on one another during the staged fight, showing how well they could fake their punches.

Nominated for seven Academy Awards, the movie earned Oscars for Ford and cinematographers Winton C. Hoch and Archie Stout. It was Ford's fourth and final Oscar.

Donnybrook!, a musical stage version of The Quiet Man, failed on Broadway in 1961.

1996 Sentinel Communications Co.

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