One of John Ford's most cherished projects, THE QUIET MAN took years to finance but became one of his greatest box-office successes and an enduringly beloved classic. John Wayne stars as Sean Thornton, a retired American boxing champion trying to put tragedy behind him by returning to Innisfree, the bucolic Irish village of his birth. He purchases his birthplace from its current owner, enraging the wealthy and bellicose Red Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen), who had designs on the property. On arriving at his cottage, Thornton finds it being swept out by Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O'Hara), a redheaded vision from whom he steals a not completely unwelcome kiss. After engaging in a subterfuge involving a horse race, some of the locals manage to get the disgruntled Red Will to allow his sister to be courted by the American. But the courtship ritual of the village is only the first of many local practices that the bewildered Thornton must endure if he is to have Mary Kate. Wayne gives a surprisingly nuanced performance as the fish out of water, and he is perfectly matched with the radiantly rambunctious O'Hara. The rest of the cast is splendid as well, and the lush color photography garnered an Academy Award for Winston Hoch. John Ford also won an Oscar for his directing, and it's impossible not to be charmed by the artistry with which he weaves his rollicking, robust tale.
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