Sunday, March 3, 2013
242. The Quiet Man (1952)
Running Time: 129 minutes
Directed By: John Ford
Written By: Frank S. Nugent, Maurice Walsh, from the story Green Rushes by Maurice Walsh
Main Cast: John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Victor McLaglen, Ward Bond
Click here to view the trailer
NOT QUIET ENOUGH
Remember when I wrote my "Double Indemnity" review and I talked about movies that you just know you're going to love before you even begin watching them? Well, that works the other way too, as I've also had many experiences with movies that I knew I WASN'T going to love before I even started them. "The Quiet Man" was one of those movies.
The film was directed by John Ford, in the 1950s and starred John Wayne, so without even going any further we can tell by just that bit of information that it was nominated for a whole heap of Academy Awards (but it only won two). John Wayne is Sean Thornton, an Irish-American, ex-boxer who returns home to the green pastures of Ireland after living in Pittsburgh most of his life. When he rides into the little town of Innisfree, via horse and carriage, he tells the coach driver that he plans to buy a small cottage, fix it up and live there; a small cottage that was owned by his mother and father many years ago and one that he's dreamed of living in all of his life. So Sean meets with the current owner and for the sum of 1000 pounds, she sells Sean the land and the cottage and he moves in, much to the dismay of Squire Will Danagher (McLaglen), who was also interested in the property.Sean moves in, starts fixing the place up, little by little and tries his best to be neighborly with Danagher, who lives right next door. Well, actually, Sean's true neighborly intentions lie with the Squire's sister, Mary Kate Danagher (O'Hara), whom Sean is gaga about. After a while, Sean gets up the nerve to ask Mary Kate out, but traditional Irish customs specify that Sean ask Will for permission to court Mary Kate and of course, Will says no. So the townspeople, who all like Sean well enough, help him hatch out a scheme that will get Will to say yes and it works and Sean marries Mary Kate. However, there's still the matter of Mary Kate's inheritance, which Will refuses to let go of. Oh and there's also the matter of Sean being a former ex-boxer, who retired when he accidentally killed a man in the ring, which becomes important near the end of the movie.
Oy vey! Where do I begin. Well, let's put it this way - I didn't like it! Why didn't I like it, you ask? Well lets start at the very beginning (a very good place to start). For starters, I'm not particularly fond of John Wayne movies as it is. I'm sorry, I know he's supposed to be an American institution and was supposedly a real life superhero (I mean he even had a nickname: "The Duke" - that's name no one would self apply where I come from, but that's a different matter for a different day) but I just do not get the appeal. As far as I'm concerned it takes a mighty fine script to even make the guy look halfway decent and even then his acting ability is basically nil. Granted, I have only seen a handful of John Wayne movies - this, "The Searchers", "Stagecoach", "Rio Bravo", "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" and "Red River" - but none of those have succeeded in selling me on the guy and I think by now I've seen enough to form a pretty strong opinion and that is one of dislike.
Okay, so the star of the movie aside, there's still the matter of the incredibly - and I do mean INCREDIBLY - boring picture! Now, I hate to be the guy who writes a movie off as boring and leaves it at that and USUALLY I try to avoid using the word "boring" when airing my grievances about a certain film, but I'm sorry; if ever there was a movie to call boring, "The Quiet Man" is that movie. Let's take a look at the sequence of events here: guy returns to Ireland, guy buys land, guy meets girl, guy marries girl, guy quarrels with girls brother, guy quarrels with wife, guy fights girls brother, everybody lives happily ever after. Get the hell out of here with that crap, man! Really? That's it? I'm supposed to be left emotionally drained by one of the most sleep inducing romances in cinematic history? We are never given a reason to care about these characters. What, just because it's the almighty John Wayne (God rest his soul, I'm not one to speak ill of the dead) I'm supposed to automatically care that he's returned to Ireland and oh how romantic, he's been struck smitten by a redheaded angel!? Nah. Sorry, no. No one gets automatic cool points with me, especially not "The Duke". Just because you were one of the biggest names to ever step onto the silver screen, doesn't mean you get my automatic attention. Each movie is it's own vehicle and in this one, I'll reiterate, we are never given reasons to care for these characters. Also, what's with characters in old movies falling head over heels in love after just one look or one kiss? No wonder the 50s were such a boom period for births.
So that about wraps it up. I hate to be THAT guy, but I can't help to just write off "The Quiet Man" as boring. Of course, I didn't even mention that "big climax", where Sean finally decided to fight for his woman (not sure where his big change of heart came from), in a fighting scene that is laced with too much comedy to be taken seriously. No, this film just simply wasn't for me. It's that kind of movie that you'd expect to find your grandparents watching on a Saturday afternoon, your grandma knitting booties and your grandpa half dozed off in the chair...can you blame him?!
RATING: 2/10 Big 'ol thumbs down from this guy and easily THE WORST movie of the season, just beating out "Red Psalm" by a notch. I'll happily mark this one as "watched" and move on with my life.
MOVIES WATCHED: 625
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 376
March 3, 2013 5:37pm
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