Classic Film Guide

Quiet Man, The (1952)

John Ford won his fourth and last Best Director Oscar (the film also won for its Color Cinematography) for this, another successful pairing of John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, whose famous face slapping attempt is featured in TCM & Chuck Workman's 100 Years at the Movies (1994) short. She broke her hand when Wayne blocked her blow, and had to act in the rest of the movie without a cast! This part comedy, part romance drama includes an excellent supporting cast: Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond, Mildred Natwick, and Victor McLaglen (who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar), among others. The film, co-produced by Ford & Merian C. Cooper (of King Kong (1933) & Mighty Joe Young (1949) fame) was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Screenplay (Frank Nugent's only Academy recognition, for adapting Maurice Walsh's story), Color Art Direction-Set Decoration, and Sound (Daniel Bloomberg's last film). #76 on AFI's 100 Greatest Love Stories list. Added to the National Film Registry in 2013.

Wayne plays American boxer Sean Thornton, who's returned home to Ireland. He falls for the beautiful red-headed lass Mary Kate Danaher (O'Hara), whose brother Squire 'Red' Will Danaher (McLaglen) isn't so keen on Sean. In fact, the two have fighting words that eventually lead to an extended brawl, which covers a lot of ground and is followed by cheering members of the community. Fitzgerald plays one of these, Michaleen Oge Flynn, while Bond plays Father Peter Lonergan.

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