“The Quiet Man” originally appeared in the Post on February 11, 1933, and was written by Maurice Walsh.
Director John Ford tapped “River” castmate John Wayne to play Sean Thornton, an Irishman returned home to escape his past who falls in love with Mary Kate Danaher, played by Maureen O’Hara, earning the ire of her ill-tempered brother Will, whose antics to keep the lovers apart form the main plot.
Earning four stars from Leonard Maltin and TCM, it’s a fan favorite for its sweeping shots of the Irish countryside and an intense—although comical—fist fight between two principal characters. Little known is that O’Hara filmed most of the movie with a broken hand. During the wind-swept cottage scene, an indignant Mary Kate slaps Thornton for a brazen kiss, but O’Hara’s hand landed incorrectly against Wayne’s open palm, breaking a bone. Unlike most movies today, Quiet Man was being filmed in sequential order, and O’Hara was unable to wear a cast until after filming had finished.
The film grossed $3.8 million in its first year, and garnered two Golden Globe nominations and seven Oscar nods, including two Academy wins for Best Cinematography and Best Director. It’s even referenced in the 1982 movie E.T., when the eponymous alien discovers the television.