HTF REVIEW: "The Quiet Man" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 15, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    [​IMG]

    The Quiet Man




    Studio: Artisan
    Year: 1952
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 129 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1.33:1)
    Subtitles: None



    Once again I find myself bathing in the glory of
    the DVD format as I expose myself to some of the
    most classic films of our time -- for the very first
    time.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    The Quiet Man is the first John Wayne
    picture I have seen without Indians or battleship
    fights. It was a very personal film for director
    John Ford who was originally from Ireland and
    always wanted to tell a story about his roots.
    Getting there wasn't easy however. John Ford held
    the options to make this movie for sixteen years
    before it was finally made in 1952. Ford went to
    Republic Studios to try and get this movie made.
    The studio never thought the picture would make
    any money. A deal was made that if Ford would direct
    a money making film for the studio (which he did
    with "Rio Grande"), he would be greenlighted for
    his dream project. Fortunately, Ford got his way
    and created this masterpiece of a film that has a
    charming blend of drama, romance, and humor.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    The Quiet Man is a story about an American
    boxer Sean Thornton (John Wayne), who travels back
    to the small Irish town where he was born after he
    accidentally killed a man in the ring. He wanted to
    go where no one knew of his past, and to start life
    over again. He had heard stories from his mother
    about the beautiful little village of his birth.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    As he buys his childhood home and settles in, he
    falls in love with fiery redhead Mary Kate Danaher
    Maureen O’Hara) who has a larger than life bully
    of a brother Will Danaher (Victor MacLaglen).
    Complications arise in their romance, mainly due
    to the brother, and eventually Wayne is backed
    into a corner.
    Wonderfully photographed in the most beautiful
    locations in picturesque Ireland, this movie is
    absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately, none of
    that is accurately portrayed on this DVD.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    The Quiet Man arrives in a handsome green
    window slipcase with a transparent window that looks
    into the DVD box cover that features John Wayne and
    Maureen O'Hara. Inside the case is a 4-page booklet
    that contains a chapter index and a personal letter
    of thanks from Maureen O'Hara Blair for the purchase
    of this DVD.
    How is the transfer?
    Again I find myself at a disadvantage of not having
    seen this film before on any previous format. I
    can tell you only what I see here, and hope to God
    that this is the best the film has ever looked on DVD.
    I have been told that the original DVD release
    of this film looked washed out -- and looked more
    like a VHS copy than a DVD. I'm sorry to say, I
    don't think much has changed between the two
    releases.
    I thought I would need prescription glasses to
    watch this film. Never before have I seen such
    a beautiful Technicolor film shown so irresponsibly
    on DVD. Perhaps the film elements here are in such
    bad shape that even a miracle worker couldn't do
    a proper restoration.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Watching The Quiet Man is like watching one
    giant blur. You can guess that there is absolutely
    no detail here. Picture looks slightly unfocused
    throughout, colors are somewhat oversaturated with
    overly red facial tones and there's all sorts of
    video noise to be seen. What is worse, are the
    random color changes that happen throughout. Blue
    skies and background whites suddenly become purple.
    Now the above review is my impression without
    having seen any of the crappy versions that have
    come before this. I suppose if I can find something
    good to say here, it would be that the print looks
    like it has been digitally cleaned. Other than that,
    the greens of the Irish countryside, and the reds
    of Maureen O’Hara’s hair are all hindered by
    blurriness.
    The enhanced restored audio seems to sound
    pretty darn good. Sound was very clear with almost
    a non-existent amount of background hiss. Please
    also note that there is an original restored
    audio
    track as well.
    Special Features
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Let's start with the full-length commentary
    by actress Maureen O'Hara. As the film begins,
    Maureen almost gives a shopping list worth of
    family relations that appeared in this film.
    As we are introduced to the Ireland countryside,
    Maureen points out little points of interest that
    are no longer there. Most of the film was shot
    on the grounds of Ashford castle. A little carriage
    ride in the fields was actually shot on the Golf
    course. What did the actress think of John Wayne
    dragging her home? Well, she not only was pulled
    downhill on her stomach, but through heaps of sheep
    manure (Wayne and Ford thought it would be funny).
    Maureen has a lot of revealing stories to tell
    about her costars and Director. For instance, John
    Ford used to love to tell all sorts of false stories
    to people, including one that the film was plagued
    with constant rainfall -- which it wasn't. This is
    a really nice commentary -- especially for the fact
    that it comes from such a wonderful, warm actress
    who has so many fond memories.
    [​IMG]
    The Making of the Quiet Man is another
    uplifting documentary thanks to the enthusiasm
    of its host Leonard Maltin. We learn how this
    film was an uphill battle for director John Ford
    and how people stood by him in order to get it
    made. The project began with a simple story by
    Maurice Walsh that was posted in The Saturday
    Evening Post. Ford purchased the screen rights
    from the author. Ford immediately went to actress
    Maureen O'Hara and offered her the leading role in
    his pet project. Short on money to make his film,
    he went to Republic Pictures. They agreed to do the
    film if the director did another money-maker first.
    The release of Rio Grande paved the way to
    The Quiet Man. The featurette goes on to
    explore the relationship between Ford and Wayne as
    well as the strong screen presence of his leading
    lady, Maureen O'Hara. In a departure from studio
    tradition, the filmmakers went overseas to Ireland
    to shoot their film. This gave the opportunity
    for the director to return to his ancestral
    homeland. Toni Wayne Lacava (Wayne's daughter)
    recalls the trip overseas and the small amount of
    space that the crew had to share together. Ford
    invited the local theater group as well as the
    townspeople to partake in the film, which added
    an amount of flavor and realism to the film. You
    will see most of this crowd in the film's climatic
    brawl. A very nice retrospective!
    (length: approx 27.5 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    The Joy of Ireland is a recent documentary
    that features actress Maureen O'Hara. We learn
    about the film's original treatment of the script
    which was rejected by director Ford for being too
    political. Ford wanted a more romantic film that
    celebrated the joy of being Irish. Maureen talks
    about her first meeting with Ford at RKO studios
    in 1934, agreeing to star in his project. She
    describes the long wait in getting the picture made.
    Most of you already know the story. We learn how
    Ford manipulated his actors in order to get the
    very best results from them. Meanwhile, the actors
    were given a lot of freedom to improvise in their
    scenes, creating some of the finest performances on
    the screen. What I found most interesting here was
    that not all of the film was shot in Ireland.
    Maureen explains that the scenes shot inside the
    cemetery, for instance, were shot on the Republic
    Pictures backlot. Also included here is a famous
    story I heard once before -- and I am so glad
    Maureen tells it here. The story involves a scene
    where Ford was looking for a particular reaction
    out of John Wayne. Ford told Maureen to whisper
    something profane in the Duke's ear. Maureen
    hesitated to do so, citing she couldn't say such
    a phrase to him. A promise was made that if
    Maureen did it, nobody would ever find out what
    was whispered. Maureen did what Ford requested
    and in the film's finale, whispered a secret
    request into John Wayne's ear. The reaction is
    pure cinematic history! Does Maureen finally
    spill the beans? Watch the documentary and find
    out!
    (length: approx. 30 minutes)
    Remembering The Quiet Man is a short
    3-minute montage of some of the greatest moments
    from the film.
    Rounding out the extras is a cast and crew
    filmography as well as Production Notes
    that basically rehash the story of how hard it
    was for the director to sell his film to other
    studios. Finally, there are trailers for
    The Quiet Man Collector's Edition as well
    as Collector Editions of High Noon and
    Rio Grande.
    Final Thoughts
    It's a shame that after all these years, John
    Ford's wonderful Technicolor film featuring Winton
    C. Hoch's stunning cinematography still can't
    receive a worthy transfer on this format. Perhaps
    the original elements are in such poor shape that
    this is truly the best we can ever see from this
    film.
    I'll wait to hear from those who are more qualified
    to give that opinion.
    Release Date: October 22, 2002
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Damn it! My worst fear has been realized. One of the most beautifully filmed movies ever shot and they screwed up the transfer. There's little doubt that the film element used was in poor condition, but I find it hard to believe that a better effort (more money and time) couldn't have been achieved to really captured the AA-winning cinematography of this beautiful film.

    I wonder what Robert Harris would have to say about this issue.




    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Rain

    Rain Producer

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  4. Brian McHale

    Brian McHale Supporting Actor

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    Guess I'll be holding on to the one I've got until they do it right.
     
  5. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I will buy this dvd for the extras becuase I've been in love with Maureen O'Hara since I was a young boy when I first laid eyes on her in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". She was a beautiful woman and this film really captured her beauty.




    Crawdaddy
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Guys,

    Let me clarify something....

    I have not seen any previous VHS or DVD efforts.

    Artisan is claiming that this is an entirely
    new remastered release.

    I'd wait to hear from others about the picture
    quality of this title.
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I'm hoping to have my dvd copy this Friday and I will definitely be doing an A versus B test with both dvd releases. I will post my results this weekend.




    Crawdaddy
     
  8. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Robert,
    You even copied my reasons [​IMG].
    Yes, please let us know! I hesitated to buy this second release, believing it was the same version, both being Artisan.
    Cees
     
  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Guys,
    I just checked the previously released dvds of both "High Noon" and "The Quiet Man" and both dvd boxes mentioned digitally re-mastered which we now know means almost absolutely nothing. I'm going to watch "High Noon" again just to get me in the mood to shoot down Artisan for such a weak effort.[​IMG]
    Crawdaddy
     
  10. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Two words:

    ULTRA RESOLUTION.

    Technicolor needs to ask Artisian to digitally remove their company name from the credits...because this is NOT Technicolor. Technicolor is what Singin' In The Rain: SE looks like! (Come to think of it, both were produced the same year...)
     
  11. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    This is very upsetting news. Another reason why Artisan should have it's entire film catalog taken away from them, they are the pits.
     
  12. Rain

    Rain Producer

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  13. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    New transfer or not...it's clear that the film elements used are WAY sub-par or something is being filtered very badly. I have the original DVD and it looks like one of those public-domain titles like Life With Father...no detail and barely better (if at all) than VHS.

    What gives? Can Criterion get a hold of this title and do a new transfer or can they afford that?

    -dave
     
  14. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    I had just bought the extant Artisan disk a few weeks ago, before I had seen this thread at all, or knew that a re-mastered version was coming. Watched it a few days ago.

    So I can tell you Ron, your screen shots of this new Artisan release look just as bad as the disk I have does.

    Although the new extras look interesting, I can easily rationalize keeping the earlier edition - after all, the picture is truly blurry; as well, I had not bought the disk a year or so ago because the price on the shelf was around $30 Cdn, whereas it had dropped to $19 when I picked this copy up.

    I am looking forward to How Green Was My valley tho...
     
  15. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    a real pity as I was quiet looking forward to own another John Ford film. I will pass on this one
     
  16. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I'll probably end up picking this disc up for the extras, but it has moved from a mandatory buy to a maybe if I have some extra cash purchase. It's truly a shame that this movie can't get a better transfer and if not, at least an explanation as to why. If the original materials are really that bad and they can't be made better with today's technology than that's an acceptable excuse, but otherwise this is a crying shame. I saw this on the big screen a few years ago and was blown away, but I've been repeatedly disappointed by VHS & TV presentations and this doesn't appear to be any better.

    And while I'm complaining, how about eliminating that crummy cover work & using the original poster artwork.
     
  17. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Ouch! This is a pretty serious spoiler.

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    Shame the disc is not too good. This is a film that just can't get a good transfer. I wonder if the orig. elements are gone?
     
  18. Vegas 1

    Vegas 1 Supporting Actor

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    I have the LD box set of this title and it looks about the same, probably a little worse than the dvd. Looks like the same transfer to me as the LD. What a shame!
     
  19. David_Jr

    David_Jr Supporting Actor

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    What a shame!! This is a family favorite that I fondly remember watching on a 16 mm film projector projected onto a white sheet tacked to the wall when I was a teen. I own the first DVD and it improves on the above presentation in sound only. Come to think of it I sometimes fondly remember the clickity clickity of that old projector. Here's hoping they'll do it right someday!
     
  20. Scott Leopold

    Scott Leopold Supporting Actor

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    I was lucky enogh to see this on the big screen over the summer. It wasn't a very good print, but it was better than the old DVD release, which seems to be the same as the new release. I truly hope they do this justice someday.
     

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