SPEAKING UP FOR 'THE QUIET MAN'
Sir, - It is interesting to see that, 50 years after its release, The Quiet Man is still causing debate in our national press. I refer to Robert O'Byrne's Irishman's Diary of May 6th and Des McHale's response (May 10th).
Personal feelings about the film aside, there is no doubting its importance both to the history of Irish film and to the representation of Ireland abroad. Although the film was viewed with some suspicion by Irish Americans on its release, it has since developed a fanatical following in the US and is in many respects the "two-hour advertisement for our tourist industry" which Mr O'Byrne purports it to be. The special place held in the hearts of Irish Americans for the film was exemplified in 1992 by the generosity of the capital grant to the Irish Film Archive from the American Ireland fund in recognition of the film and its lead performances.
As I'm sure Mr McHale will be delighted to learn, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of its release, the Irish Film Archive will be holding a special screening of The Quiet Man on July 8th in the IFC, Temple Bar, at 8 p.m. This is the first in a number of initiatives to be taken by the Film Institute of Ireland and the archive to celebrate the half-century. These include the launch of Luke Gibbons's Ireland into Film, published by the Film Institute of Ireland and Cork University Press, and a Quiet Man Day at the IFC later in the year. Messrs McHale and O'Byrne are both more than welcome to attend the July screening and to conclude their debate in the sympathetic surroundings of the Irish Film Centre. - Yours, etc.,
Head of the Irish Film Archive,
Irish Film Centre,