A thought spared for ‘The Quiet Man’

This, from The New Yorker online:

Hollywood’s heroic directors of romantic rowdiness, including Howard Hawks, John Ford, and Raoul Walsh, vied with each other to jam-pack movies of all genres (including war films and Westerns) with music, and Ford’s 1952 comedic drama “The Quiet Man” (Amazon, iTunes, and others) may be both the pinnacle of rowdy romance and of end-to-end music. It stars John Wayne as an American boxer fleeing a grim past with a return to his native village of Inisfree, in Ireland, and Maureen O’Hara as the local woman whom he hopes to marry and who will marry him—if he can overcome the hostility of his prospective brother-in-law (Victor McLaglen). The relentless brutality of a brawling barroom culture—the alcohol flows as freely as the fists fly—is matched by the full-throated, exuberant crooning of men deep in their cups. Yet for all the film’s hearty carousal, Ford catches the relentless struggle of subsistence farming and the layers of cultural adornment (drinking and music included) to humanize it, the charm of a deeply rooted community and the cruel narrowness that it fosters. It’s a virtually anthropological love story, and Ford’s lavish musical soundtrack is a folklorist’s virtual fieldwork.

Must take them up on it and watch it again. Gloriously incorrect and a masterpiece of cultural appropriation.

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