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Sé Merry Doyle’s ‘Quiet Man’ Documentary Gets Irish Cinema Release
24 May 2012 : By Steve Cummins
Sé Merry Doyle with Maureen O'Hara
Sé Merry Doyle’s acclaimed documentary ‘John Ford: Dreaming The Quiet Man’ is to be released in Irish cinemas next month following its Dublin premiere at the John Ford Ireland Symposium over June 7-10.

Narrated by Gabriel Byrne, the Loopline Film documentary details the story of Oscar-winning director Ford's 20-year journey to bring ‘The Quiet Man’ to the screen. It features interviews with ‘The Quiet Man’s star Maureen O'Hara, as well as directors Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese and Jim Sheridan.

Previously screened in Cork and in the US to huge acclaim, director Sé Merry Doyle will premiere a new master-edit of the documentary at the John Ford Ireland Symposium on June 10 having added exclusive interview footage with various people linked to ‘The Quiet Man,’ including John Wayne’s daughter Aissa Wayne.

Following the Dublin premiere, the film will be released on June 15 through Element Pictures Distribution.

Speaking to IFTN, Sé Merry Doyle spoke of his delight in seeing the project get a national cinema release after he conceived the idea for the project seven-years ago.

He said: “A number of years ago I was in a room having a discussion about ‘The Quiet Man’ and somebody said that it was rubbish. And I just said, how could John Ford have made a bad film?

“This is a man regarded by lots of people as the greatest filmmaker in America ever. That just kind of got me going. So I just ventured down to Cong and shot some characters who had been in the film and filmed some crazy stuff, like Quiet Man mania at these get-togethers.

“The more and more I dug into it, the more John Ford loomed out. That ‘The Quiet Man’ was in fact his biography and that the film is greatly underestimated in terms of what exactly is going on in the film.

"It’s a kind of parable for the times that John Ford saw the world going through, which was a mad desire for money and the Hollywood studio system. Through more research I’d found that he bought the rights in 1932 but he didn’t get it made until 1951 even though he had huge successes and the studios made millions out of films such as ‘The Grapes Of Wrath’ and ‘How Green Was My Valley’. The studios just thought, as Maureen O’Hara says, that it was a little Irish story.

“So instead of making a whimsical film purely about the making of ‘The Quiet Man,’ which is not what I wanted to do, I wanted to get into the head of John Ford and this desire and his comment on life.

“Before we knew it we were filming Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich and getting some fantastic archive film. We went on a filmatic journey just finding out what Ford was up to on ‘The Quiet Man’.”

Of the new master-cut, he added: “It’s a slightly revised edit in that – having filmed an exclusive interview with Maureen O’Hara a couple of years ago, who is the only surviving member of the principal cast – last year it turned out that John Wayne’s daughter, Aissa Wayne, was in Ireland so I filmed an interview with her.

“What’s great about this new cut is that John Wayne’s child is now in the film, so you are getting a kind of intimate account of John Wayne and John Ford to John Wayne. It gives a good sense because John Wayne had his children on-set during filming.”

Filmed in the US and in Cong, Co Mayo, where ’The Quiet Man’ was shot, the film also features interview footage with John Ford’s Irish cousins in Spiddal, Co Galway, as well as home-movie footage from the cast and crew's time filming at Ashford Castle in Co Mayo.

‘John Ford: Dreaming The Quiet Man’ was produced by Martina Durac and Vanessa Gildea for Loopline Film. Patrick Jordan (Pentecost) was the cinematographer, while the film was edited by Nicky Dunne (In America). Genevieve Murphy was the assistant editor. Post-production was carried out by Loopline with sound mixed at Ardmore Sound. The documentary features original music from Ger Kiely. The film was shot by Sé Merry Doyle on hi-def and DVcam with additional cameramen including Tom Byrne, Andrew Edger, Colm Hogan and Michael O'Donovan.

For full details on the John Ford Ireland Film Symposium line-up and information, visit the John Ford Ireland website.

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