Quiet Man, The (1952)

The Quiet Man (1952), directed by John Ford.

I've seen complaints that this is a falsely precious portrayal of colorfully drunken, priest-ridden, always argumentative and brawling Irishmen. Hell's bells, all movies are fantasies, even the documentaries. I saw Oklahoma! once but never suspected the West to be populated by singing and dancing cowpokes. Do the Scots complain about Brigadoon (1954)?

The sexual politics of married life is the center of the film. In the old phrasing, Sean has a right to his wife's body, and Mary Kate a wifely duty to comply. She stonewalls him until she gets her dowry. He's too proud to insist on sex, although there are signs she wouldn't mind his insistence. And beyond that: she doesn't want the neighbors to know about the shameful lack of consummation. Not until Father Lonergan gives her a stern lecture does Sean get his wedding night.

Earlier, drunken Barry Fitzgerald views the broken marriage bed, with improper assumptions: "Impetuous. Homeric."

Many of Ford's favorite actors here. I particularly like Ward Bond as the fierce, hard-fishing parish priest.

Note that shirtless John Wayne looks nothing like a heavyweight boxer. And spot Festus playing the accordion at the tavern.

My DVD is from 1999. The color is super-saturated and the image is just vile. There isn't a bit of fine detail and many scenes have vertical banding. "Digitally Remastered" it says on the case, and the encoding is a generous 8GB. I don't know if there are better editions. 60th anniversary next year: Blu-ray? (What's the deal with movie anniversaries anyway?)

(Later: a better quality Blu-ray appeared).