The Quiet Man (1952)
Director: John Ford
I love a good romantic comedy, particularly one from Hollywood's Golden Age. Seeing that John Ford was at the helm of The Quiet Man boosted my interest in the film; the man was one of the greats. Add to that the Irish countryside as the film's setting, and I was confident I was onto a winner.
Well, I liked parts of it, but the film has certainly not aged well with its gender politics. Wayne's Sean Thornton's manhandling of his wife is uncomfortable to watch now, though Maureen O'Hara is no shrinking violet. Indeed, her Kate rather shouts her way through the film, and her insistence that Sean go and defend her honour, or he gets no marital privileges, equally doesn't scan well these days. I do understand her reasons - the money and furniture were her mothers, and symbolise her independence from her father - but she comes across as unreasonable.
Despite this, the Irish landscape is the true star, with its gorgeous greenery, and Wayne and O'Hara do have great chemistry together; their kiss during the storm is old-fashionedly swoony. It is a bit of charming fun, and shows the audience that, like Scorsese with The Age of Innocence, Ford was not just a one-genre director.