Irish Eyes Smile on the Duke
by Crosby Day
The Orlando Sentinel, 11 February 1996
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
younger brother, Charles FitzSimmons, is cast as Forbes.
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.
Ford also used members of the Irish Abbey Theater in
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.
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
and cinematographers Winton C. Hoch and Archie Stout. It was
and final Oscar.
Donnybrook!, a musical stage version of The Quiet Man, failed on
Broadway in 1961.
© 1996 Sentinel Communications Co.