People say you can never go home. John Ford and John Wayne set out to disprove that saying. The Quiet Man is the story of what happens when one boxer returns to his birthplace.
The Film: 4/5
In The Quiet Man, John Wayne plays an American boxer named Sean who is ashamed of having killed a man in the ring. As a result, he leaves America and returns to his birthplace in Ireland (John Ford’s home as well) to reclaim his family’s home. In purchasing his family’s farm, he enrages a local man who wanted the farm himself.
In the same town, Sean falls for and courts a woman named Mary Kate. After their courtship, Sean and Mary Kate do fall in love and marry. Unfortunately, Mary Kate is Will’s sister. Will is the very same man who is enraged at Sean for buying the farm as he wanted it for himself. With Will so angry, he refuses to grant his sister her dowry. Mary Kate feels a deep need for her dowry as it is part of how she has an identity in her culture and the refusal is very painful for her.
Mary Kate wants her new husband, Sean, to defend her and fight for her dowry. However, Sean is hesitant to fight for the dowry. He doesn’t understand the importance of it in the culture and doesn’t care about the property and money himself. Beyond this, Sean is reminded of his in-ring tragedy and can’t bring himself to break his vow to never fight again. With Sean unwilling to fight for Mary Kate’s property, she becomes estranged from him and their marriage becomes tumultuous. From there, we see the two struggle to find themselves and their marriage.
I’ll admit to have never watching this movie before this. Upon first viewing, while it does take a bit to draw one in if you are used to more modern filmmaking, everything about it works well. The pacing, while slower, does work really well. It gives the drama between Mary Kate and Sean to breath and develop. And that drama is one of the greatest strengths of the movie despite a fair bit of comedy. John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara are fantastic in their roles. Their acting and interaction really carry the majority of the film.
In addition to the acting, I do love the directing of the film. It is certainly a really beautiful movie. The setting is beautiful and it is well-captured on film. John Ford really knows how to capture a beautiful backdrop. And the surroundings look gorgeous in this film. It is no surprise that this won both best director and best cinematography.
Picture Quality: 4/5
Olive Signature’s release of The Quiet Man includes a new cleaned up transfer from a 4K restoration they performed a few years ago. Given the age of the movie, there certainly is plenty of grain, but it is pretty clean. The image is pretty sharp for its age and the colors look very good and frequently quite vibrant. There are however some murky blacks here and there. Overall, for its age, this is a very nice looking presentation.
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
The Quiet Man comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track. There is nothing truly remarkable in the track. The good thing is that it is very clean. Dialog is quite clear and there is no distraction from background noises. I found no noticeable audio infidelity throughout the movie.
Special Features and Packaging: 4/5
Commentary: Joseph McBride (John Ford biographer) offers a lot of background on the film as well as John Ford in a very informative, but dry commentary track.
Don’t You Remember It, Seanin? Tad Gallagher(film historian) takes us through a visual essay on the movie. Obviously Tad holds a reverence for the movie.
The Old Man: Peter Bogdanovich Remembers John Ford: Peter Bogdanovich describes his list time meeting with John Ford. He also talks of some of John Ford’s style and describes why he thinks so highly of The Quiet Man.
The Making of The Quiet Man: Leonard Maltin walks the viewer throught he production of The Quiet Man. He also spends some time focusing on the life and impact of John Ford.
Free Republic: The Story of Herbert J. Yates and Republic Pictures: Marc Wanamaker(archivist) briefly details the history Republic Pictures.
A Tribute to Maureen O’Hara: Several actresses talk about their times working with Maureen. They share stories and talk about the kind of person she was.
The packaging is pretty nice. Olive provides a slipbox for the release and a short booklet. The clear case shows off the internal artwork. All in all, the Olive made a pretty nice little package for this John Ford classic.
John Ford gave us some wonderful films in his day and The Quiet Man is no exception to that. John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara offer great performances to carry this film. In some ways, it may move a little slow, but that is what allows the acting and drama to develop and sell the story. Olive’s new release looks and sounds great and we probably aren’t going to see this look any better any time soon. The extras in this release are also plentiful.
Is this release for you? That might be hard to answer. If you are already a fan of the movie, it is a definite pick up. I think the movie is worth seeing for anyone. It won’t be for everyone, but it is at least worth a watch. Anyone who is a fan of Ford or John Wayne will probably enjoy these two working their craft. The romance drama in it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and neither is the pace. But, if you are familiar with films of the era, it is certainly worth picking up. If you are new to the era, give it a rental first to see how you like it.
You can pick it up on Amazon here.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.