John Wayne, well known for his westerns and action films, ignored advisors and took a risk on his career to star in “The Quiet Man” — and the risk paid off well.
“The Quiet Man” won two Academy Awards, was nominated for five additional Oscars, and was among the top grossing films of 1952. It was also Wayne’s second of five movies with Maureen O’Hara. The romantic comedy/drama went on to the be the personal favorite of both.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the Sunrise Theater will have a special matinee screening of “The Quiet Man” Tuesday, March 17, at 2:30 p.m.
“The Quiet Man,” set in the 1920s fictional Irish village of Inisfree, is the story of retired Pittsburgh boxer Sean Thornton returning to his childhood home to escape his past and live a quiet life. Instead of tranquility, he meets and falls in love with the fiery Mary Kate. She is the sister of a bullying but prosperous landowner Sean had already angered when he bought his cottage. After some comical shenanigans from village locals, Sean and Mary Kate begin their courtship in a proper Irish manner with chaperoning by the matchmaker played by Barry Fitzgerald.
The Quiet Man Trivia
• Filmed in Ireland’s County Mayo and County Galway, the film received the Oscar for Best Cinematography. John Ford won his fourth Best Director Academy Award for this film. “The Quiet Man” lost the Oscar for Best Picture to “The Greatest Show on Earth.”
• When Sean first kisses Mary Kate she slaps his face. When John Wayne blocked the slap, Maureen O’Hara broke a bone in her hand but couldn’t wear a cast since there was still more filming to be done.
• In the fight at the end of the film, Victor McLaglen appears to knock John Wayne’s toupee off with his first punch revealing Wayne's receding hairline.
• The accordion player in the pub is Ken Curtis, who later played Marshall Dillon’s sidekick Festus on “Gunsmoke.”
• Maureen O’Hara was born Maureen FitzSimons in a suburb of Dublin, Ireland. She spoke fluent Irish Gaelic and did all her own singing in the film.
• John Wayne directed the horse race sequence while Director John Ford was ill. The exciting footage reinvigorated Ford who was having doubts about the film.
• Only 20 percent of the original White-o-Morning cottage is left standing. The stones have been carried away by “The Quiet Man” fans. An exact replica was rebuilt in the town of Cong, where the movie was filmed and is now “The Quiet Man” Museum. A local pub hosts daily screenings of the film.
Tickets are $8 and are available at SunriseTheater.com, at the Sunrise office, or by calling (910) 692-3611. Show your ticket stub from the March 15 Sunrise Riverdance show and receive a free small popcorn.