It could be Some Like It Hot or Harold and Maude or The Shawshank Redemption - hell, it could even be Howard the Duck. The fact is that we all have our movie equivalents of comfort food to help us get through the tough times and remember the good. And for millions (and generations) that honour goes to John Ford's 1952 'Irish Western', The Quiet Man.
A romantic comedy, a fantasy, a love letter from an ornery old director to the land of his forefathers, Ford's two-decades-in-the-making labour of love has been dismissed down the years as paddywhackery, but yet its fans include directors like Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg and it has done more for Irish tourism than any other film. Those who adore The Quiet Man will find that Sé Merry Doyle's Gabriel Byrne-narrated documentary adds to the magic, while the naysayers will, at the very least, get a great lesson in cinema history. Some of them may even soften a little - that's what the sight of Scorsese becoming a kid again can do to you.
Making equals of locals, tourists and legends (star O'Hara, directors Scorsese, Bogdanovich and Jim Sheridan) and using home movie footage and archive photos from The Quiet Man's Mayo shoot, Doyle's film took seven years to make, and there's a feeling that he could have added another hour of interviews without losing any power, or, indeed, charm.
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.