Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 6th, 2016
BluRay released: October 25th, 2016
Approximate running time: 129 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Olive Films
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $39.95
The Quiet Man was directed by John Ford whose other notable films include, The Informer, The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley, My Darling Clementine and The Searchers. Key collaborators on The Quiet Man include, cinematographer Winton C. Hoch (Robinson Crusoe on Mars) and composer Victor Young (Shane, Johnny Guitar).
What starts off as a film about a man trying to get back to his roots. Quickly transforms into a tale about a forbidden romance. And though John Wayne’s character is initially given the role of the protagonist. When all is said, and done, Maureen O’Hara’s character is the true protagonist of the film. With the last two acts of the film focusing on her character trying to gain freedom from her overbearing old brother who controls every facet of her life.
One of this film greatest strengths is that It is being told from an Irish American’s POV. And because of this the film comes off as a romanticized version of Ireland. This also extends to this film’s visuals which do a superb job setting the mood and capturing the beauty of the landscapes featured in the film. Standout moments visually include, the first-time Sean Thornton encounters Mark Kate Danaher who is sheep herding on the property next to his families’ land. Another standout moment is Sean and Mark Kate’s romantic embrace in the rain.
Besides romance and melodrama, other genres that found their way into this film include, comedy and action. With the former playing a role throughout the film, while the latter saving its most prominent moment for the film’s finale which consists of lengthy fight scene. The finale begins with Sean tracking down Mary Kate who is trying to leave via a train and grabbing her from said train and dragging her five miles to her brothers’ home. Once there he gives Mary Kate back and from there a fight erupts. And this knock down drag out fight moves from one location and works its way throughout the town.
Anchoring this film are the performances of its two leads, John Wayne in the role of a retired American boxer named Sean Thornton and Maureen O’Hara (How Green Was my Valley, The Hunchback of Notre Dame – 1939 version) in the role of Mary Kate Danaher, the woman who lives next door to Thornton and subsequently falls in love with him. The Quiet Man would mark the second of their five collaborations. And there is no denying their chemistry as both deliver pitch perfect performances.
Not to be overlooked is the secondary cast and a few of these notable performances include, Victor McLaglen (The Informer) in the role of Mary Kate’s older brother Squire ‘Red’ Will Danaher, Ward Bond (It’s a Wonderful Life) in the role of a preacher and Barry Fitzgerald (Going My Way) in the of Michaleen Oge Flynn, a wise cracking character who likes to drink. Overall The Quiet Man is an extraordinary film where everything perfectly falls into place.
The Quiet Man comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. This release has been flagged for progressive playback and the film is presented in its intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio. This releases transfer has been created from the film’s original camera negative. And though this transfer serves as the source of Olive Films previous Blu-Ray for release for this film. The end result is far from both releases look the same. With this new feature a transfer that improves upon the same in every way. Colors have never looked more vibrant, black levels and shadow detail remain sold throughout and details always look sharp. Also grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mix in English and removable English SDH subtitles have been included with this release. Dialog comes through clearly; everything sounds balanced and there no issues with background noise or distortion. Range wise things sound very good considering this film’s age and the limitations of the mono.
Extras for this release include, A tribute to Maureen O’Hara (9 minutes 29 seconds), a featurette titled Free Republic: The Story of Herbert J. Yates and Republic Pictures (5 minutes 22 seconds), a visual essay Don t You Remember It, Seánín?: John Ford’s The Quiet Man with historian and John Ford expert Tag Gallagher, a vintage documentary titled The Making of The Quiet Man (27 minutes 49 seconds) and an audio commentary with John Ford biographer Joseph McBride.
The extra titled A tribute to Maureen O’Hara features comments from Ally Sheedy, Hayley Mills, and Juliet Mills. All three actresses remembered the films that made with Maureen O’Hara.
The extra titled Free Republic: The Story of Herbert J. Yates and Republic Pictures gives a detailed account of how the Republic Pictures came into existence. Unfortunately, this extra is at best just a primer as a large section of Republic’s story is not covered. And it should be noted that this extra does discuss The Quiet Man.
The visual essay titled Don t You Remember It, Seánín?: John Ford’s The Quiet Man is an informative exploration of The Quiet Man and those who help make it.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, how one of the main attraction of this film are its Irish landscapes, a key to understanding this film is that it was made from an Irish American’s POV, John Ford, John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, keys moments in the film, the way John Ford shot and framed his films to prevent from studio interference in post-production, John Ford’s World War II films made for the government, familiar themes in John Ford’s films, how the original story was more dramatic then the film which can be described a farcical, the epic brawl at the end the film and a production related secret to Maureen O’Hara is whispering to John Wayne’s ear at the end of the film.
Rounding out the extras is eight-page booklet with cast & crew info, a brief text about the film, information about the transfer, chapter lists and the list containing the extras included with this release. Overall The Quite Man gets a definitive release from Olive Films via their Signature line.
Note: This film is also being released by Olive Films on DVD.