Friday, August 9, 2013

Film&Fashion Fridays : John Ford's The Quiet Man

I have to admit it wasn't until moving to Paris that I started to appreciate classic cinema, especially melodramas, western, and, of course John Ford. The Quiet Man is yet another tardy discovered gem.

Blame it on the French people's obsession with '40s and '50s American cinema, or maybe just on all the repertoire cinemas and Cinematheque programming. Or probably on my lack of a formal cinema education that shaped my taste in a slightly odd manner. 

Either way, on that hot afternoon that I rushed out of the house to make it to Saint Michel for the last screening of this masterpiece, with less than a euro in change, braving the metro rush hour and after a quick run from the RER station to Rue Champollion, I can confess that something really magical happened.

Classic cinema just has a way of completely immersing you in the story, seducing you with that IB Technicolor and leaving you with a warm fuzzy feeling and a dumb smile as the movie ends, the lights turn on and life slowly gets back to normal.

Unfortunately they screened a digitally restored copy (something more and more common in these theaters which I personally profusely hate, as it sounds the unavoidable death of film on celluloid as we know it), but the transfer was nice and crisp and in the end that Technicolor still works its other worldly magic, despite the change in format.

I really don't want to tell you much about this film; partly because a lot of you might have already seen it on TCM or elsewhere, but also because I just walked in without much knowledge and have been completely smitten.

It was this post from {local milk} (I simply LOVE this girl's aesthetic and writing) that motivated me to choose this movie this week, not to mention that there's already a darling dress in the shop that bears its name.

Either way, this much I can tell you : it has the most amazing rural scenery, the best simple cottage interiors and anyone obsessing over roses, grazing sheep and emerald green would certainly find their happiness as the French say it (ils vont trouver leur bonheur).

Not to mention Maureen O'Hara is a stone cold fox fiery redhead wearing the best simple primary colored outfits : blue suits with delicate lace collars peeking, full red skirts and the best tweed suits. Oh and did I already talk about the cutest pom pom berets? 

Sure, some may find this movie dated or too traditional, but what I find charming and endearing is that it's actually supposed to be a love letter to traditions and somehow a simpler way of life. Of course it's sexist and full of machismo, but in a way who doesn't want a big strong man that can build a family and fight for the woman he loves?

It might be from 1952, but I find it paradoxically contemporary in its portrayal of the clash of Irish and American cultures (or maybe I just can relate being an expat myself?) and in a very twisted way it kinda makes you believe in love and marriage again.

The story might seem deceitfully simplistic, but please just trust me on this one - stop reading about it and just watch it with an open mind and you might be surprised of the result. I mean... I never thought I'd ever find John Wayne attractive, but I have to admit he is pretty hot in this movie ( is it the fighting? the gardening? I can't tell).

... and of course don't forget to check out the super sweet Maureen O'Hara dress from the shop, it certainly looks very much like this sweet green number from this amazing scene.

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