In honor of his work and this fine movie, here is Michael Medved's review of a John Wayne/John Ford and Maureen O'Hara classic.
On March 17th (Saint Patrick’s Day), every American feels at least a wee bit Irish and there’s no better way to indulge and nourish that sentiment than settling down to watch the greatest Irish movie of them all: THE QUIET MAN, from 1952.
The incomparable John Ford (born Sean Aloysius O’Feeny) pays lavishly loving tribute to the homeland of his parents, with his favorite star, John Wayne, playing the part of a wealthy Irish-American who goes home to the town of his birth. The colorful residents of the perfectly picturesque village of Innisfree include members of Ford’s wonderful stock company: Ward Bond, Barry Fitzgerald, Victor McLaglen, Midred Natwick, May Craig, and Arthur Shields. Most significantly, the flame-haired beauty Maureen O’Hara portrays the local colleen who instantly steals Duke Wayne’s heart: the scene in which he glimpses her for the first time, standing at the horizon with the wind rippling her rich red hair and her flowing skirts, remains one of the loveliest (and sexiest) images of feminine pulchritude in all movie history.
The passionate chemistry between Wayne and O’Hara is explosive and utterly captivating, but to win her hand he must first deal with bullying and hostile older brother (McLaglen) who deeply resents the “dirty Yank” who’s invaded their idyllic rural world. The performances all shimmer and shine and sizzle, while the glorious cinematography (which won a well-deserved Academy Award) makes the Irish country-side look very much like paradise.
By the time the plot reveals the guilty secret that brought John Wayne back to Ireland in the first place, the film has already invoked its mystical spell. For St Patrick’s Day, drink deep of THE QUIET MAN --- a refreshment for the sentimental soul that will prove more intoxicating than the strongest brew. Erin Go Bragh!
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