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Movies - Legal Movie Review

A Story To Think About

My favorite movie around St. Patrick's Day is "The Quiet Man" starring John Wayne (USC alumni) as Sean Thornton and Maureen O'Hara (Irish born) as Mary Kate Danaher. Directed by Irish man John Ford.  It won an Oscar for best director and best cinematography. The film was released on blue ray in January 2013. 

John Wayne's character, Sean Thornton, is a former American prizefighter, who left America to retire from boxing and settle down in his father's homeland of Innisfree, Ireland. Sean explains to the new owner of his birthplace - "Innisfree has become another word for heaven for me." He was able to purchase his father's home. 

Sean Thornton, as a famous prizefighter in America, had accidentally killed a man in the boxing ring. He came to Ireland with the intention to never box again.  When he returns to Ireland, he meets and falls in love with young O'Hara's character, Mary Kate Danaher. 

He attempts to "court" Mary Kate with the assistance of my favorite character, Michaleen Flynn, "the matchmaker," played by Barry Fitzgerald. When Sean and Mary Kate are courting, they get in an argument, and Michaleen Flynn asks "Is this a courting or a donnybrook? Have the good manners not to hit the man until he's your husband and entitled to hit you back." www.merriam-webster.com - don·ny·brook. noun, often capitalized \'dä-ne-?bru?k\. : a public argument. : an uncontrolled fight. So we learn an Irish expression! I think we could call a lot of family law cases a "donnybrook."

Mary Kate's older brother, Squire 'Red' Will Danaher, the town bully, is opposed to the marriage of Sean and Kate.  Apparently, in Ireland in past times, a woman could not marry without the consent of her brother or father. Michaleen Flynn tells Sean, "This is Ireland Sean not America, without her brothers consent she couldn't and wouldn't." The brother finally relents to let his sister get married - but he refuses to give them her dowry. As much as Sean Thornton tries to avoid conflict with her older brother, he is ultimately left with no choice but to fight for his wife's dowry. When Mary Kate calls Sean a coward and starts to leave him on a train, Sean ends up in a fist fight with 'Red' that attracts the entire town's attention. Their epic bare knuckle brawl ends in reconciliation and a few black beers. 

There is no actual legal point to the movie - it is just an illustration that sometimes you have to fight for what is important to you. Make no mistake about it, a lawsuit and litigation is a fight. Sometimes the fight can be settled before anyone is seriously hurt, and reconciliation between the parties is always the best outcome. 

From a cultural standpoint, the picture was filmed in Ireland, and in one particular scene you actually hear the Gaelic Irish language. The Irish accents and Irish expressions are always very entertaining. The thatched roof houses, vast green pasturelands (Oscar award winning cinematography) and Irish soundtrack, are a great setting for this classic love story. One interesting question to ask at the end of the movie - what does Mary Kate whisper in Sean Thornton's ear?

I have experience litigating case in Justice of the Peace courts, county courts, district courts, administration law courts and federal courts.  I have also taken cases to arbitration.  If you have a case you would like to discuss please give my firm a call to set up an appointment.

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