Sean Thornton (Wayne) arrives in his familial home of Inisfree to trade the bustle of the States for the sleepy charms of the Emerald Isle. He’s allured and bewildered in equal measure by the locals’ quaint ways and antiquated values, making him a pretty ideal avatar for anyone watching The Quiet Man today. And just as Thornton ultimately comes to find more to love than hate in the old-fashioned oddness of his new neighbours, Ford’s film remains highly endearing even as it shows its age.
It’s a true Sunday-afternoon American classic, rife with casual misogyny, hammy acting and slapstick humour, but with that old-school Hollywood sparkle in its eye. Stepping back from the epic Western landscapes in which he built his legacy, Ford’s skills as a filmmaker flourish just as easily in this humbler setting, crafting a film filled with gorgeous shots and without a single wasted frame. [Ross McIndoe]