As an American of Irish descent, John Ford is good at making films with Irish local features with his high nationalism and understanding of traditional culture. His most famous work is “The Quiet Man”.
Although this movie is a humorous family comedy on the surface.
But its means of expression and central idea are still the motifs of that western movie.
How should a man choose when facing an unjust world alone.
The story itself is actually nothing surprising. A former boxer, Sean Thornton, returned to his hometown in Ireland and wanted to live a normal country life.
Thornton fell in love with Mary Kate, an old girl with a tyrannical and stingy brother, Will, who has red hair and a fierce personality.
After many twists and turns, Thornton finally married her in, but because of offending Mary Kate’s brother, he didn’t get the dowry he deserved.
Because the local folk customs are conservative, the villagers regard women who are not married as a shame.
So the bad-tempered Mary Kate was quite annoyed, thinking that her husband’s refusal to argue with her brother was a sign of incompetence, and she was annoyed to leave home.
Thornton immediately dragged the woman off the train and returned to her family’s home to severely teach the two brothers and sisters. He won the respect of the whole village with his superb boxing skills.
In the end, the couple reconciled and Will conceded.
Thornton took the tape on his face and married the wealthy widow, and everyone ended up happily.
This is a movie about men.
Thornton is a brave professional boxer who accidentally killed his opponent in a match.
So he regretted it and since then hated violence and returned to his hometown incognito.
And there is only one pastor who knows his true identity.
A lonely man came to a strange town, faced with a tough woman and a series of troubles caused by her.
The conflict in this drama is the woman and the dowry, but this setting itself is still to show the man’s choice and solution.
As a bloody man, he doesn’t care about a woman’s dowry, nor does he want to fight for money. All he loves is the woman herself.
Thornton expressed John Ford’s slight rebellion against traditional habits.
However, when this disregard for tradition finally formed a huge contradiction.
This is when a woman sees it as an insult to herself, and she resists by leaving home.
This Thornton, who was unbearable for most of the film, finally broke out completely.
Under the attention of everyone, a public boxing match was held, showing that his bravery and generosity won people’s respect.
In the end, everything returned to tradition, and the wife was no longer arrogant and became a well-behaved little woman.
Thornton is an indisputable authority, a man.
This is John Ford’s principle. Authority must be respected. Despite many shortcomings, tradition must be adhered to.
The two protagonists of the film are the director’s beloved generals, John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
Grace Kelly once said that of all the directors she has worked with, John Ford disappointed him the most.
She said that as a director, he doesn’t seem to know how to communicate with actresses.
Although this view is extremely emotional and personal, it also shows to a large extent that in John Ford, women should have a subordinate position.
Women are not the protagonist of his works, at best they are just a foil for men.
So getting along with actresses is not as pleasant as Alfred Hitchcock and George Cukor.
John Wayne is a believer in Great Americanism and is known for his conservative political stance. He is an anti-Communist vanguard and a supporter of the Vietnam War.
He is the incarnation of an American father, majestic, traditional, fortitude, tenacity, and no lack of tenderness and humor. He is a model of American traditional ideals.
In shaping this character, John Wayne’s performance is as always following his own style.
Introverted, reserved, and calm, everything looks as peaceful as lake water on the surface.
However, when all the accumulated power erupted, he was like a thunder that swept through thousands of troops, and an overwhelming posture appeared in front of people.
The explosion of this point is based on most of the relief of the film as a pavement.
Therefore, for most of the time, the rhythm of the film is tepid, lyrical and relaxed, and only a little bit of violent points has been resolved by the protagonist’s patience.
Only in the last moments did he take action, and it was precise and powerful, so the audience watched it very vividly and even cheered loudly.
This is a real man, docile like a lamb, brave like a lion, like the general who loves to grow flowers in Hugo’s writings.
No one knows that this gentle man is actually a powerful fighter.
Because he never slapped the weak, only resisted the strong and evil.
In the film, he fell in love with a wild girl who everyone was afraid of, which proved his courage and perseverance.
One scene was a rainy night in the cemetery. The woman felt cold and frightened. He took off his clothes and put on her, hugging her tightly to comfort her.
When his wife misunderstood her and forbid him to enter the room, he angrily snatched the door in.
But he still respected her wishes and did not use her husband’s legal violence against her.
All kinds of behaviors show that he is a resolute and bold political man who does not fear evil, protects the weak.
He is a quiet person who doesn’t speak much, but always appears at the right time.
John Ford’s movies are men’s movies, expressing the world of men.
Even if there are women in this world, that is just one of the countless tests of how men make choices in this world.
He is a master of Western movies, and his work is a textbook of mainstream American conservatism.
He preaches tradition and authority, the dominance of men and the obedience of women.
Even among them there are signs of rebellion, which are also out of a kind of resistance to injustice.
In the end, his protagonist always obeys authority and leads a plain and traditional American Puritan life.
Most of his heroes are taciturn, calm and resolute tough guys.
Whether facing evil forces or unruly women, they conquer each other with an unquestionable majesty.
And this American-style solution is face-to-face-duel, with the legacy of European knights and the Anglo-Saxon’s demands for fairness.
His films have influenced many mainstream film directors so far.
The narrative style is classicism, from the appearance of the characters, the account of contradictions, to the resolution of the final conflict.
It is not difficult for anyone who is used to watching American movies to find this routine.
The climax of every movie that expresses the contest between justice and evil is at the end of the movie, just like the final duel of a western movie.
“The Quiet Man” is full of strong Irish folk colors, cheerful and lively.
Especially in the last country duel, it showed the director’s outstanding talent in comedy.
To truly understand “The Quiet Man”, in addition to an understanding of westerns, you must also understand the special significance of boxing for Americans and Irish immigrants.