UPDATED June 19:
RTÉ TEN gets it right: “…Sé Merry Doyle’s Gabriel Byrne-narrated documentary…” Feeling better now. [Please note: this review no longer exists at the RTÉ website]
This is a wonderful review by Harry Guerin with the bonus of his video interview with the director, Sé Merry Doyle–a must see! This documentary took Mr. Doyle seven years of hard work and commitment; the film The Quiet Man required twenty years of John Ford’s stamina and cantankerous determination. This is so intriguing when you consider how quickly some films come to market these days, while others struggle along fighting money battles or script problems or scheduling nightmares!
In between the memories and trivia treasures, the yearning of emigrants, the battles between directors and studios and the mindset of a maverick are all explored, with Ford’s everyday armour peeled away to show the sentimentalist (granted, a shrewd one) underneath. His contribution to tourism in the West is continued by Doyle whose sequences in Cong and surrounding areas are both gorgeous and quirky and will inspire the reworking of many a to-visit list.
You, or someone you know, will enjoy this film very much. If times don’t suit during its short cinema run, it’s out on DVD at the end of the month with, we are told, plenty of extras. In a perfect world it’d be on the same disc as Ford’s movie.
So looking forward to seeing this film. Congratulations to Mr. Doyle on the wonderful reception his film is receiving!
UPDATED June 14:
As it turns out, Mr. Byrne did not attend the Symposium after all. Director Sé Merry Doyle tweeted Byrneholic Linda with the news that no, Mr. Byrne was filming in London and could not be there, but it was a great symposium and early reviews were positive.
The documentary opens in selected theaters in Ireland tomorrow, June 15.
Here is the official trailer for the film:
The Irish Film Institute is screening it every day next week.
And the official site [no longer available on the Internet as of June 2, 2018] provides a much bigger and better version of the trailer plus information about venues and dates for screenings in Ireland.
DVD information provided at the official site notes it will be released in Ireland on June 29 and in the UK on July 9. No word on a release in the US yet.
Sorry to note that almost nowhere in any of this promotion does it indicate that Gabriel Byrne narrates the film, but we know, right!?
Review at Entertainment.ie:
I was never a fan of The Quiet Man. John Ford’s vision of Ireland was too Oirish, condemning every Hollywood movie set here since to be filled with characters who, when not drinking, would say ‘Oh Bejaysus’ while perched atop a horse and cart. Also, while the rest of us can be in just a bad mood, redheaded women were hence forth dismissed as ‘fiery’. A living death. However, Sé Merry Doyle’s charming documentary has the subtle power to approach Ford’s movie with fresh eyes.
Sé Merry Doyle paints an interesting picture of Ford in the lead up to directing a film he, too far removed from his Irish roots for his liking, always wanted to direct. Taking Ford’s story from his immigrant Irish parents from Ireland to Portland, Maine, and his introduction to Hollywood, Doyle builds up this grizzled, cigar chomping caricature who at his heart yearned for the land of his father (one wouldn’t describe Ford as a softie, as that would be incorrect). Doyle has also rummages through the archives to find some fascinating behind the scenes footage. Taking his camera onto the streets of Cong, which doubled up for Ford’s Innisfree, Doyle finds Americans who have travelled here for a bus tour of the film’s locations and interviews a local character who runs a Quiet Man memorabilia shop…
The John Ford Ireland Film Symposium has been in session since June 7. Somehow this just slipped right under our radar. However, a tweet from a Dubliner alerted us to the fact that Mr. Byrne was indeed visiting Dublin, as of June 8, and we think we know why.
The Dublin premiere of John Ford: Dreaming the Quiet Man takes place today, June 10, at the symposium. Scheduled guests include:
Sé Merry Doyle – Director
Peter Bogdanovich – Contributor
Dan Ford – Grandson of John Ford
and Producer Redmond Morris
Gabriel Byrne, who narrates the film, is not on this list but we speculate that he might be attending.
The film is set for release in Ireland on June 15, as we have reported.
Peter Bogdanovich has a great interview in the Irish Times and he puts John Ford’s contribution as a director in perspective for us.
More news as it becomes available!