John Ford Makes it Personal by DREAMING THE QUIET MAN

John Ford: Dreaming the Quiet Man is available in stores on March 24, 2015.

Director John Ford is known for many things, chief among them his epic westerns and their star-making effect on John Wayne. But for a certain segment of the population — myself included — Ford’s lasting legacy is The Quiet Man.

Starring Ford favorites Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, The Quiet Man is a classic. It’s Ford’s love letter to Ireland, and a film that he fought for 20 years to make.

Ford didn’t consider himself a “career director.” Directing wasn’t his passion, or his calling — it was his job. He had to support his family, and directing was the job that paid the bills. The Quiet Man was different, though. It was personal.

John Ford: Dreaming the Quiet Man is an interesting glimpse into the making of The Quiet Man, and the film’s legacy. Featuring Maureen O’Hara, Peter Bogdanovich, and Martin Scorsese, among others, Dreaming gives you a little bit of a lot of things. You learn a little about the background of the man born Sean or John Feeney in Maine in 1894, the son of two Irish immigrants seeking a better life in America. Much like Wayne’s character Sean Thornton, Ford grew up in America hearing tales of what life was like in Ireland. You learn how Ford spent 20 years trying make the movie nobody wanted, based on the story “The Green Rushes” by John Walsh. In the end Wayne leveraged his clout to coerce a reluctant studio boss into allowing Ford to make The Quiet Man, and Ford still had a fierce fight to make the film the way he wanted to make it, not how the studio thought it should be made — which included using Technicolor to capture the lush green landscapes of Ireland. (Obviously it was worth it; TQM is a classic that was nominated for Best Picture, Supporting Actor, Screenplay, Sound, and Art Direction Oscars, and won for Cinematography and Ford himself as Best Director.) You get stories from on the set from O’Hara and townspeople from Cong, the Irish village where The Quiet Man was filmed. You visit modern-day Cong to see the lasting legacy of the film in terms of the tourist trade, and meet Ford’s Irish family. You learn a little less about Ford himself, a notoriously tight-lipped subject widely known for his eccentricities and generally being hard to work for — as O’Hara implies, you could love working for the man and yet still recognize he was a an “old bastard.”

John Ford: Dreaming the Quiet Man is an interesting glimpse into a classic movie. Fans of The Quiet Man will enjoy hearing from O’Hara and learning more about the film. Fans of Ford in general might also be interested in learning a little more about the man, though it’s really more of the story of the film than its director — though the film is so personal, the story of the former is, in a way, also the story of the latter. However, if you haven’t seen The Quiet Man (a situation which you should remedy immediately), or are not familiar with Ford, there’s probably not much here of interest to you.

The Package & Special Features

The Blu-ray is simply packaged, and contains several extras. The longest and most interesting of the mostly incredibly brief special features is one showing the parts of the interview with Maureen O’Hara that weren’t included in the film. O’Hara is simply a delight. The costume feature provides interesting background on the local seamstress charged with making authentic Irish costumes for the actors. Other features include reminisces from townsfolk about the filming of scenes such as the beach horse race, and a somewhat less-than-informative bit about the Quiet Man fan club annual gathering.

Get it at Amazon on Blu-ray

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