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Wonderful Film - Be Careful Which DVD Edition You Get
on August 19, 2004
*****5 stars for the film
Haunted by an incident that happened in the ring, American boxer Sean Thornton (John Wayne) returns to his Irish birthplace, seeking only his roots and a quiet, peaceful life.
He soon falls in love with the beautiful, tempestuous Mary Kate (Maureen O'Hara). She is equally taken with him, but won't marry without the consent of her stubborn, blustering brother, Will (Victor McLaglen), who disapproves the match.
With the help of a well-intentioned scheme arranged by their friends, Mary Kate gets her brother's permission and Sean and she wed. Relationships spoil soon after, however, when Will refuses to pay the rightful dowry. Sean doesn't care, but Mary Kate is outraged and wants Sean to have it out with Will.
Time and again Sean backs down - determined not to use his fists - his inner tension building the whole while. But eventually he will have to decide between losing his wife's love and respect and facing his greatest fear.
This was an important and personal project for John Ford (whose real name was Sean O'Feeney). That his heart and those of his cast members were in what they were doing shows through. The fact that much of the film was shot on location in Ireland (on location shoots were somewhat unusual at the time) also adds an authentic flavor.
Barry Fitzgerald was at his comedic best here, and Ward Bond's performance as a priest has several simply unforgettable moments.
The Quiet Man is a charming classic and among Ford's best (in fact, it won him an Oscar for Best Director). It's funny, romantic, and always entertaining. It also features an exuberant score (courtesy of Victor Young) and one of the longest and most memorable knock-down, drag-out fights ever committed to film.
Two different editions of this DVD have been released with almost
identical packaging. Be careful which one you buy! (I wish I'd known this).
"John Wayne Collection" edition (*1 star)
This is the one I bought (ISBN 0-7820-1057-1, ASIN: B00000I1KV). It has "John Wayne Collection" printed on a green band at the top. Its special features include "The Making of the Quiet Man" documentary & the theatrical trailer. DON'T BUY THIS VERSION, PLEASE. The sound is decent, but the picture is absolutely terrible: blurry and full of splotches, almost unwatchable.
Apparently, the sound and picture quality are okay on the "Collector's Edition" DVD (ASIN: B00006JMRD), whose special features include Commentary by Maureen O'Hara, the theatrical trailer, "The Joy of Ireland" documentary with Maureen O'Hara, "Remembering The Quiet Man" Montage, and "The Making of The Quiet Man."