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The Quiet Man

(1952 c 129')

En: 7 Ed: 7

A boxer returns to Ireland and buys the house where he was born. He falls in love with his neighbor but has to battle her brother.

         American Sean Thornton (John Wayne) gets off a train and gets Irish advice. Sean tells Michaleen Oge Flynn (Barry Fitzgerald) he is going to buy the house where he was born. Sean meets the priest Peter Lonergan (Ward Bond) and sees Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara). Sean outbids Red Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen) and buys the house from the widow Sarah Tillane (Mildred Natwick). Sean buys drinks for all. Will tells Sean to stay away from his sister Mary. Sean refuses to fight Will, and Peter has them shake hands.

         Sean finds Mary in his house and kisses her, and she hits him. He thanks her for cleaning his house. Elizabeth Playfair and Rev. Snuffy Playfair (Arthur Shields) give Sean a primrose plant, and Sean moves in a bed. Drunk Michaleen tells Mary he is matchmaking for Sean. She says what her fortune is. She plays her spinet and sings.

         Sean and Michaleen call on Mary and Will, who says no. Sean asks Mary, but Michaleen says she couldn’t marry him without her brother’s consent.

         At a horse race ladies put up their bonnets. Michaleen tells Will if his house did not have a woman, Sarah would marry him. Will tells Mary to put up her bonnet. Sean starts late but wins the race and takes Sarah’s bonnet.

         Will lets Sean court Mary under Michaleen’s watchful eye. Mary admits she has a temper. They ride a bike and leave Michaleen behind. Mary takes off her stockings, and in a cemetery they kiss in the rain.

         Sean and Mary are wed. Michaleen has Will present her fortune of £350. Will asks Sarah if she will marry him, but she says no. Will says Michaleen and Peter lied. Will takes back his fortune and knocks Sean down. Sean recalls boxing when he killed a man. Sean takes Mary home. She misses her things and insists on her dowry before she will be a wife. Sean calls her mercenary, throws her on the bed, and uses his sleeping bag.

         Men deliver Mary’s furniture but not her dowry. Sean plants roses. Sean and Mary drive to town in a horse-cart. Mary tells Sean to ask Will for her money. When Sean refuses, she drives off. She sees Peter fishing and confesses in Irish. Peter loses a fish. Sean goes to Will but won’t fight him. Sean calls on Rev. Playfair who knows how his boxing career ended. Playfair urges Sean to fight Will. At home Sean and Mary say who they talked with and feel reconciled.

         In the morning Michaleen tells Sean that Mary went to the train. Sean rides his horse and grabs Mary, dragging her on foot as people follow them five miles back to Will. Sean demands the £350. Will says, “Never,” and Sean gives Mary back. Will gives Sean money, and Sean throws it in a furnace. Sean hits Will, and Mary says she will cook supper for Sean. Will and Sean fight as Michaleen takes bets. Sean and Will stop to drink. Sean brings Will home for supper.

         In the final scene Will courts Sarah, and Sean and Mary go into the house.

         This romantic comedy celebrates Irish life and reflects ancient traditions that include a bridal dowry and men dominating with brutality. Sean restrains himself because he knows that the results of fighting can be tragic.

Copyright © 2012 by Sanderson Beck

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