On this Dec 30, heading into the new year, I wanted to do one of Movie Rob’s GGs (Genre Grandeur) – I always get his emails – and when the theme of documentaries came up- it gave me a chance to A- participate and do something for a great fellow film blogger and B- do something a bit different as I’ve never reviewed a documentary before.
I watch a lot of documentary programs such as on Reelz Channel about the British Royal Family as well as celebrity documentaries- but in terms of legit documentaries- I wanted to tackle the the 2010 Irish documentary John Ford: Dreaming The Quiet Man (2010)- and its absolutely the best documentary you can watch if you are a true “Quiet Man Crazy” (as they are called!).
To start off, I’ll declare that it was good timing with the making of this documentary as Maureen O’Hara was interviewed (this came out 5 years before she died) which adds a great deal of authenticity. John Ford himself appears in archive footage and although John Wayne himself does not appear in any type of interview, his daughter, Aissa, does. And of course, what would a classic Hollywood documentary be without insight from Peter Bogdanovich and Martian Scorsese.
I like the style of the documentary, as it just isn’t (archive) interviews with the cast and crew of the film, there’s interviews with legitimate people- a local shop owner in Cong (where the film was shot), John Ford’s Irish cousins, Maureen’s nephew Charlie. It goes on modern day location to see what some of the most iconic film landmarks look like today (such as the Pub, the Bridge, the field where Mary- Kate and Sean go on their courting sequence). The film even goes to the site of where John Ford’s Irish family’s house was and even to Maine where he grew up.
Of all interviewees, of course, Maureen O’Hara provided the most insight. What she revealed wasn’t exactly “new” info (to the devoted fan), but what I found was that it gave viewers a sense of emotion; it’s one thing to read about her thoughts in her autobiography or in a quoted written piece, but definitely another thing to hear her talk about it. I loved to hear the feistiness of her voice when discussing Ford or the fondness she possesses when remembering John Wayne. The real treat in her interview segments was her remembering, clear as day, the words to the song she sang in the film. She SPOKE the words, but still- she didn’t pause or stumble upon saying them!
The rest of the documentary really goes in depth to analyze the film- from the choices made in shooting the film, to the certain little details chosen to make it sentimental. Furthermore, it sets the record straight about some of the famous rumors regarding the film (yes, Wayne directed the horse race scene on the beach, no the final words whispered by Mary Kate in the end have not and will not ever be told to the public ).
Overall, this is just a splendid documentary that really makes you realize this was Ford’s ultimate picture and that he did put his whole being into making it.
Here is the trailer and if you want to see the whole film- Olive pictures has released it on DVD and Blu Ray. I have to point out- Olive has added bonus interviews and clips, trust me they are worth seeing!!! (Amazon Link)