THE QUIET MAN: COLLECTOR'S EDITION
Artisan Home Entertainment, $19.98
JOHN FORD PAID $10 to option a Saturday Evening Post story about an Irish-American boxer who accidentally punches a man to death and flees to Innisfree. Ford faves John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara helped him turn the tale into this classic, Oscar-winning love letter to Ireland. You can see why it took years for Ford to finance the 1952 film: The story is so thin, he may have overpaid for it. Still, despite longueurs, the movie is a must- see for Wayne's performance as a different sort of pilgrim than he usually played; a fine supporting cast pulling out all the schmaltzy stops; and a ravishing performance by the Irish countryside in eye-popping Technicolor. It is what Pauline Kael used to call a "coffee-table movie."
O'Hara, a redhead tempestuously embodying the unreasonableness of the Irish, plays Mary Kate, sister of the still more unreasonable town bully (the incomparable Victor McLaglen). He won't hand over her dowry; Wayne won't punch him for it, and she concludes he's a poltroon. After much boozing and townwide donnybrooking, Wayne drags her back home. Who can resist the blarney? When leprechaunesque sot Barry Fitzgerald, the town bookmaker/matchmaker, spies the newlyweds' broken bed, he milks his line ("Impetuous! Homeric!") for all it's worth, which is plenty.
On this single-disc release (Oct. 22), Leonard Maltin's making-of documentary reports that Ford refused to clear the sheep dung from the field O'Hara got dragged across. There aren't enough such pungent details on the DVD; O'Hara is as tepid an interview subject as she is fiery in character as Mary Kate.
EXPECT EXTRA-FIERY extras on Y Tu Mam᠔ambi鮼/I>. Oct. 22 also greets Gangster No. 1, with the breakout performance by Paul Bettany that got him into A Beautiful Mind, and the touching Iranian love story Baran (which will also play for a week here beginning Dec. 20). Since the next Bond flick arrives Nov. 22, MGM is issuing several special- edition sets of old 007 movies, including Dr. No. Also out: a gift set of Spielberg's digitally tweaked E.T.; Adam Sandler's execrable Mr. Deeds remake; and new packages of High Noon and Rio Grande.