The Quiet Man: Irish embassy feared protests against film

Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne in The Quiet Man Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne starred in The Quiet Man

The Irish embassy in Washington feared protests by Irish Americans against the romantic comedy The Quiet Man, newly released documents reveal.

The Oscar-winning John Ford film has been conserved in the US National Film Registry for its "cultural, historical, or aesthetic" significance.

But brawling and boozing feature prominently in the 1952 film, which was shot in County Mayo and County Galway.

An official warned "the theme is not likely to be well received here".

Although counsellor Joseph Brennan said the film's colour was "beautiful" and its scenery "delightful", he raised fears it would provoke protests from Irish-Americans.

'We may have protests'

His concerns were addressed to the Irish government's Department of External Affairs in a letter dated 17 April 1952, The Irish Times reports.

He asked for a swift reply as he wanted to gauge the reaction to the film in Ireland, but no response was received until June.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption O'Hara said The Quiet Man was her favourite film

Another missive from the embassy official in July added: "If it were to be taken completely at its face value it would be accepted as a rollicking farce and no harm done.

"But I fear it will be regarded by the Irish-American element here as purporting to portray actual life in Ireland.

"We may then have protests."

Mr Brennan's concerns are outlined in the latest volume of documents on Irish Foreign Policy 1951-1957 which are due to be published later this week.

The Quiet Man, which starred John Wayne as boxer Sean Thornton and Maureen O'Hara as Mary Kate Danaher, won Oscars for Best Director and Best Cinematography.

When it was added to the film registry in 2013, O'Hara described it as "the first great movie about Ireland" and said it had endured as it was "a simple and timeless story about people in love".

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