Tony the "Quiet Man"

Why was Tony Watching the Quiet Man? We all know that David Chase carefully chooses the programs and movies that we get to see Tony (and others) watching on Television (as carefully as he chooses the music for the show). In this episode, while asleep in the living room (with an empty ice cream bowl on his belly) Tony is watching “The Quiet Man”, the 1952 classic starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. It is directed by the legendary John Ford and is the story of an American boxer (Sean Thornton - played by John Wayne) returning to his native Ireland to escape a ring tragedy (he accidentally killed another fighter). Seeking the peace of rural life in Innisfree (his birthplace) he buys back his family’s “ancestral” home and falls in love with Mary Kate Danaher (played by Ms. O’Hara) the unwed sister of his loudmouth neighbor, “Red” Will Danaher (played marvelously by Victor McLaglen). Will refuses to let Sean court his sister, trying at every turn to get the “Yank” to fight. Sean resists fighting because he is gun shy (having previously killed a man). The trouble between the 2 men continues a slow simmer until the movie climaxes with a sprawling fistfight between them that covers field, town and bar.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp The scene that Tony is watching happens near the end of the movie when the epic (or for fans of the movie - “Homeric”) fight is in full swing. The spectators have flung themselves into the fight and it is a mobbish donnybrook. At this point the town’s pre-eminent character and matchmaker, Michaelene O’Flynn (played by Barry Fitzgerald) shoots a gun into the air to get everyone’s attention, stating “This is a private fight. Non-belligerents will kindly remain neutral. I thank you.” The fight resumes only between Will and Sean.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp I have been trying to make a connection between this movie (and this scene especially) and the many major themes of the Sopranos. The connections I have been able to conjure up are not great and are stretches, but here they are:

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp The movie has been described as “the longest build up to a fight and a piece of ass in movie history.” Perhaps Chase was providing a gentle “jab” to those Sopranos fans who have been complaining of the “slow build up” of this season, teasing us with the promise of a major fight or climax to soon come.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp There are also the “Irish” connections between this film and Tony’s NDE persona, Kevin Finnerty.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp John Wayne, like Gary Cooper, is the “strong silent type” of American that Tony most admires; Tony may be a fan of the Duke’s films and nothing deeper than that is meant.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Tony may long to be a Quiet Man himself, enjoying his peace, and reluctant to fight (with Phil, Johnny Sac, Carmella, Vito and/or his own crew) because of the tragedy of his “accidental” shooting by Junior.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Perhaps there is no connection at all; maybe Chase is just a fan of the film and was using the opportunity to pay homage to director John Ford.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Have any of the other members, who are more intelligent than I, given any thought to why Chase chose to have us see Tony watching this particular film.


Re: Tony the "Quiet Man"

Nice post, billymac. I've never seen the movie, so I appreciate your excellent synopsis.

I have no real conviction for why it was chosen. The one that appeals most is the notion that Tony would like to be a "quiet man", underscored, perhaps, by the fact that he was sleeping, as JohnnySac pointed out.

As for the "longest buildup to a fight" part, how about the longest buildup to a confrontation with one's true self? If the "decompensation" is finally coming, if Tony is now going to have to do in life what he did at the steps of that Inn in his NDE -- choose one, single identity -- it could perhaps be described as a fight between the "two Tonys". One that took 6 seasons to really reach blows.


Re: Tony the "Quiet Man"

By the way John Ford got an Oscar for his Direction in this movie. In many ways is like a western movie where man to man fight it out, one stands up to the bad guy.
A critical part of the storyline of the movie was left out. Will doesn't like Shawn and worse that he is marrying his sister. (their parents are dead and as the 1st born male, has the father role) Will then denies his sister part of her 'dowry' of a considerable amount of cash (probably = to several $1000 today). She denies Shawn sex after their marriage and even leaves their house as Shawn won't go after the dowry money and if needed fight Will due to his boxing tragedy. Eventually, after seeing the local minister, and after the wife leaves him he does decide to get his wife back and get her dowry, which he does and promply burns it in a steam farm engine boiler! That is when the fight begins. At first the fight is between Shawn and Will, as well as every guy in the village, but then the scene you see in the program, and then the fight continues but only for Will and Shawn
To me is is about that Tony has to narrow his fights, deal with his demons, to do what is right for his wife, family and his personal pride.


Re: Tony the "Quiet Man"

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>Billymac, remember the river they fell in when they were fighting? I fished in that river 4 years ago--just outside the litte village of Cong. Actually, I did more enjoying of the scenery than fishing<hr></blockquote>

HOMT...that's fantastic! It's a Quiet Man fan's dream come true. Is that in County Mayo?

And I agree, FOMW, you must treat yourself to this gem. The opening line of narration, by the local parish priest (Ward Bond as Father Peter Lonagan) will grab you right into the movie: "(clears throat) Well, then. Now. I'll begin at the beginnin'. A fine soft day in the spring, it was, when the train pulled into Castletown, three hours late as usual, and himself got off. He didn't have the look of an American tourist at all about him. Not a camera on him; what was worse, not even a fishin' rod"

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... ac72261</A>
at: 5/19/06 12:21 pm

Re: Tony the "Quiet Man"

<blockquote>Quote:<hr>To me is is about that Tony has to narrow his fights, deal with his demons, to do what is right for his wife, family and his personal pride.<hr></blockquote>

Nice insight Bing. Thanks for filling out some more of the story line details. I left them out of my original post because I wanted to convey the main storyline and get to my point without overburdening the reader. I figured that I put in just enough for fans of the movie and those that have never seen it to be able to follow where I was going. But I agree, that when you add the further details as you did, it helps you make some further fantastic connections to Tony's situation.

P.S. ("here's a nice stick to beat the lovely lady")


Re: Tony the "Quiet Man"

billymac, you're right, it is in county Mayo, just about a hour's drive NNE of Galway. Cong, and the area around it looks like it's right out of a beautiful painting...Here's a photo of the river (my son in the foreground and the village of Cong is behind me. The fight scene and where I fished is just about 500 yards south (to the left in the photo).

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... fistwat</A>
at: 5/18/06 7:56 am

Re: Tony the "Quiet Man"

The Quiet Man is one of my all time favorite movies, and I personally think it's John Wayne's finest movie - not for Wayne's acting (which I've never really cared for), but the movie itself is just truly brilliant. The supporting cast in that movie is just beyond great, and the clever script is filled with memorable quotes and jokes. It's one of my all time top movies ever made, and a must see for anyone that can appreciate a character style film.

As far as parallels, that's a tough one. It is during the climatic fight scene, the entire point of the whole movie, but doesn't seem to fit what's going on in the Sopranos at that particular time. It may be something as simple as others have said, maybe a subtle "poke" at the slow build up of the inevitable showdown between NJ and NY that has been brewing for what seems like forever.

Shrug. regardless, if you've never seen The Quiet Man, you need to rectify that as soon as possible.

"He'll regret it till his dying day, if ever he lives that long"


Re: Tony the "Quiet Man"

Great posts, Billymac & AP, re "Quiet Man" and possible connections to Tony and this season. As mentioned, one of the finest films ever made by one of the greatest directors. Ford had a great skill in his movies of building the drama before the violence occurs, maybe this will happen with Tony. Or maybe, as mentioned, he is merely playing homage to Ford and John Wayne.

Gotta admit, I like Tony's taste in movies. High Noon, Public Enemy. WC Fields, The Quiet Man...can't think of some of the others right now.

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