The prayed-for Blu-Ray here at last, and yes,
it's leagues improved over mud we swam previous, but interiors lack contrast
at times, and darks could be darker. Still, this is a Quiet Man at last livable,
suggestive of IB Tech prints TV stations used to run insyndication. Query: did
John Wayne reach his widest ever audience with The Quiet Man? --- I mean mass of folk that didn't normally go for John Wayne movies? It certainly has a
romantic element others lack, and I'll bet not being a western helped. The word
was out through '52 that here was something special, The Quiet Man doing for
Wayne what The African Queen did for Humphrey Bogart. Neither had thrown
nets so far as these game and possibly image changers. Wayne, in fact, was softened onscreen as
likely result of The Quiet Man, his Big Jim McLainto follow a genteel depart
from tougher customers he'd previously been. Trouble Along The Way continued in
a same vein, JW aware that a public liked his modern-dress heroes best when
tempers were corked, image refine courtesy The Quiet Man. Ads for Trouble Along
The Way positioned Wayne and placid Donna Reed as "scrapper"
sweethearts after pattern of JW with Maureen O'Hara, but it was false
advertising. Still, Wayne
had his slow burn to last a decade before patriarch parts began dominating, as
The Quiet Man made clear his ongoing suitability for romantic leads.
I came away from this view (a first in at least
ten years) with mixed emotion. These Irishers Wayne must cope with are an
extreme lot: loud, quick to temper, then violence, none more so than at times
scary O'Hara, who I've read could be pretty aggressive offscreen toward getting
her way. I frankly began to wonder if Sean Thornton made the right choice in
Mary Kate Danaher. Would her anger subside just for resolving dowry question?
She seems generally ill-disposed to me, as if a slight remark would set her off
and renewdonnybrook-ing. The Quiet Man takes these people seriously after all,
despite the comedy, so I must too. Would Sean have been better off with a calmer
Donna Reed type back in Pittsburgh?
There was his own post-trauma from the ring experience to work out, though
passage to far-off Ireland
at least put distance between him and that issue.
Oh, and one more issue. Turns out, according to
Scott Eyman's terrific new Wayne bio, that Duke waived his customary profit %
to do Rio Grande and The Quiet Man for a flat $100K each, this an accommodation
to "Coach" John Ford, who couldn't direct the films under Republic
auspices lest JW take the cut (noteworthy is Wayne having earned $375K for
previous Red River). That means John Wayne gave up at least a quarter million
dollars (probably a good deal more) for the sake of a director who regularly
took bows for making him a star. Shouldn't Ford have been a lot nicer to Wayne after such forfeit? --- as in washing his car, cutting his lawn, or at the least thanking
JW every day for acting on discount so the OldMan could get his projects
financed? Check too under names of Merian C.
Cooper and C.V. Whitney. Half of Ford talkies wouldn't have been made without
Cooper's assist with bank and family connections that raised $, and there would
have been no Searchers short of Whitney opening his purse (Whitney being Cooper's
friend and not Ford's). Read Ford bios of how he dismissed or disdained these
men who gathered cash, shook investor hands, and maintained valuable social
contacts that made possible many of JF films. Cooper, Whitney, and Wayne were
economic facts behind the legend that is Ford, laying down sacrifice so he
could rule roost on locations they made accessible. I'm for naming a few peaks
at MonumentValley after these three godfathers.