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John Ford
John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, Victor McLaglen. Barry Fitzgerald
Writing Credits:
Frank S. Nugent

A retired American boxer returns to the village of his birth in Ireland, where he finds love.

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 129 min.
Price: $39.95
Release Date: 10/25/2016

• Audio Commentary with Biographer Joseph McBride
• “A Tribute to Maureen O’Hara” Featurette
• “Don’t You Remember It, Seanin?” Featurette
• “Free Republic” Featurette
• “The Old Man” Featurette
• “The Making of The Quiet Man” Featurette
• Booklet


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Quiet Man [Blu-Ray] (1952)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 31, 2016)

One of the many collaborations between director John Ford and actor John Wayne, 1952’s The Quiet Man offers a subdued affair compared to more action-oriented efforts like 1939’s Stagecoach or 1945’s They Were Expendable. American boxer Sean Thornton (Wayne) retires from the ring and decides to return to the Irish village of his early life.

While Sean acclimates to the area and addresses his old family farm, he meets local beauty Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O'Hara). The pair fall in love and want to marry, but they need to contend with a mix of obstacles – including Mary Kate’s antagonistic brother Red (Victor McLaglen).

For moviegoers of my generation, we likely first experienced The Quiet Man in an oblique manner. During ET the Extraterrestrial, the title character watches a movie on TV, and he views The Quiet Man as a romantic sequence then influences his pal Elliott via their psychic connection.

Of course, Quiet Man enjoys plenty of its own fame – it just didn’t filter down to the teen level back in the 80s. I don’t think I saw the entire film until 2010 or so, when my then-girlfriend encouraged me to view it because she loved it so much.

That screening didn’t sway me to her side, and this second viewing in 2016 fails to convert me to the Quiet Man army as well. While I can appreciate some of the film’s charms, the cumulative package doesn’t engage me on a consistent basis.

Quiet Man does present a strong pack of supporting characters, and virtually all of the pleasure I take from the film revolves around them. Though far too old for the role as Mary Kate’s brother and also not in good health, McLaglen musters all the energy he can find and does well as Red. McLaglen takes a one-dimensional part and makes him much more entertaining than should be the case.

Even more so, Barry Fitzgerald excels as Michaeleen Oge Flynn, the story’s diminutive jack of all trades. Flynn seems to have a hand in virtually all the elements that advance the narrative, and Fitzgerald makes his moments wry and delightful. Like Red, Flynn should become a contrived annoyance of a character, but Fitzgerald adds wonderful spice to the proceedings.

Unfortunately, our leads seem less engaging. I appreciate Wayne’s willingness to expand past his standard cinematic wheelhouse, but he seems less charismatic than usual. Sean acts as a lackluster protagonist, and Wayne fills the space in a surprisingly bland manner.

O’Hara seems more dynamic as Mary Kate, but she gets stuck in a stereotypical role without much room to grow. Mary Kate offers a fairly simple “feisty Irish redhead” and the movie never allows her to go much past that. She certainly looks lovely as can be and does what the movie asks her to do, but Mary Kate remains a forgettable personality.

Much of the time, Quiet Man seems less like a movie than like John Ford’s big, wet, sloppy kiss to his romantic notion of Ireland. While I think the story doesn’t go much of anywhere, the supporting cast does enough to make it moderately enjoyable. At least it tops Ford’s overly melodramatic How Green Was My Valley, his earlier overly sentimental look at the Emerald Isle.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

The Quiet Man appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer delivered an appealing presentation.

Sharpness consistently appeared positive. Only a few slightly soft shots materialized, so the majority of the movie demonstrated good clarity. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement remained absent. I did see a little digital noise reduction, and a couple of tiny specks cropped up along the way.

Colors were strong. With a firm green base, we also got a nice mix of red, yellows and blues. These looked lush and vivid in fine Technicolor fashion.

Blacks seemed deep and dense without too much heaviness. Shadow detail worked similarly well, as dimly-lit shots were appropriately clear and thick. I found little about which to complain here and thought the Blu-ray brought the movie to life in a positive manner.

I thought the DTS-HD MA monaural audio of Quiet Man was perfectly adequate for its age. It didn’t exceed expectations for a mix of its era, but the audio was more than acceptable. Speech lacked edginess. The lines weren’t exactly natural, but they seemed distinctive and without problems.

Effects were a little flat, but they showed no distortion and displayed acceptable definition. Music was pretty lively given its age, as the score sounded reasonably bright and concise. No background noise was noticeable. All together, I found the soundtrack aged pretty well.

As we move to extras, we open with an audio commentary from John Ford biographer Joseph McBride. He offers a running, screen-specific look at cast/crew as well as story/characters, but McBride mainly addresses the career of director Ford and how Quiet Man fit in his filmography.

This makes the chat much less “screen-specific” than usual, but McBride gives us a good overview. He digs into themes and personal issues well and makes this an enjoyable, informative piece.

A few featurettes follow. A Tribute to Maureen O’Hara lasts nine minutes, 29 seconds and includes comments from actors Hayley Mills, Juliet Mills and Ally Sheedy. They offer personal memories of their interactions with O’Hara. We get some enjoyable anecdotes.

Don’t You Remember It, Seanin? goes for 17 minutes, 20 seconds and presents a “visual essay” from historian/John Ford expert Tag Gallagher. “Remember” mixes movie clips with Gallagher’s interpretation of characters/themes here and in other Ford flicks. A few decent nuggets emerge but the overall impact remains lackluster.

A look at history, Free Republic goes for five minutes, 22 second, and involves author Marc Wanamaker. “Free” gives us information about Republic Pictures, with an emphasis on how the studio connected to Quiet Man. We find a short but interesting summary.

We hear from filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich via The Old Man. In this 12-minute, 18-second piece, Bogdanovich recounts his chats with Ford and what he learned. Bogdanovich makes this about himself too much of the time, but he contributes some decent memories.

Finally, The Making of The Quiet Man gives us a 27-minute, 49-second piece from 1992. Leonard Maltin narrates, and we also find notes from son Michael Wayne, daughter Toni Wayne, 2nd AD Andrew McLaglen, and archival comments from director John Ford and actor John Wayne.

“Making” tells us about the project’s origins and development, the relationship between Ford and Wayne, sets and locations, cast and crew, unfilmed scenes, editing, and release. No one will view “Making” as a hard-hitting program. Instead, it maintains a light, amiable tone and that works, as this becomes a likable and informative program.

An eight-page booklet completes the package. It presents a short essay along with photos and archival advertisements. While not a great piece, the booklet adds a little value.

A dreamy, romantic vision of Ireland, The Quiet Man fares best when it concentrates on its delightful supporting characters. When it sticks with its leads, though, it seems less endearing. The Blu-ray brings us very good picture along with perfectly adequate audio and a few useful bonus materials. Quiet Man doesn’t wow me, but it comes with some entertainment value.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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