"The Quiet Man" - Dialogue question?

I’ve seen this movie a thousand times, and one piece of dialogue has always bothered me:

When Sean and Will take a break from their epic fistfight and repair to Cohans for a drink - after the argument over who will pay for whose drink, Will pitches a pint of porter into Sean’s face. Sean sputters, says “Bar towel!”, and wipes his face. He then leans over and ask Cohan “What time is it?” Cohan replies “Half past five, sir.” Sean then punches Will through the front door of the pub. O’Flynn then looks down at him with a rather strange expression on his face.

My question: What the hell difference did the time of day make? Was there some line in the short story about the length of the fight affecting the odds O’Flynn was offering? If all Sean needed was a distraction, why didn’t he just point at the wall and say “Oh, look. A seagull.” or something. We’ll never know what May Kate whispered into Sean’s ear at the end, but this little bit has bugged me for decades. Any ideas?

I suspect that it has to do with Mary Kate serving supper (recall that Sean brings Will home with him for supper after the fight), and him not wanting to be late.

I agree. I have always thought the question referred to determining when they had had a long enough break, and a long enough fight. Sean thought it was time to end it at that point.

I want to point out that the prettiest leading lady ever played in this movie. Maureen O’Hara, ftw. :smiley:

I had always assumed the dual purpose that Sean thought it was time to wrap it up and it served as a bit of distraction also. I don’t recall any specific mention of dinnertime before the fight, but I’ll have to listen carefully next time I watch it.

Well, Mary Kate tells him she’ll have his dinner waiting for him when he comes home before she struts off after they throw the money into the steam thresher and Sean dodges Will’s haymaker and punches him in the gut. So I suppose that’s as good an explanation as any.

You can buy me a drink at your WAKE!!!

Barry Fitzgerald’s character’s name is not Michaleen O’Flynn. It’s Michaleen Oge Flynn. It’s Gaelic for, basically, “Junior”. It’s in the middle of his name not end, as you might find “Junior” but essentially the same concept.

Mary Kate whispers, “Me in a nighty. tonight at 8:00”. JW wants to finish the fight and get home.


The movie never shows Sean and Mary Kate owning cows but I’ve spent enough time at my grandmother’s home in Kerry to know every farmer plans his day around “cow time.”
The cows have to be milked twice a day and my uncles did it at 7AM and 5PM.

I’ve always assumed “Half past five” meant finish up what you’re doing and go home and milk the cows.

Certainly possible…but as we know that Mary Kate would be having supper on the table that evening, and as it’s not a subtle film, I think that meal time is the more likely explanation.

Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I think you’re right.