The Quiet Woman
Directed byJohn Gilling
Written byRuth Adam
John Gilling
Produced byRobert S. Baker
Monty Berman
StarringDerek Bond
Jane Hylton
Dora Bryan
CinematographyMonty Berman
Edited byJack Slade
Music byJohn Lanchbery
Distributed byEros Films
Release date
March 1951
Running time
71 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Quiet Woman is a 1951 British crime film directed by John Gilling and based on a story by Ruth Adam, about a criminal's wife who attempts to build a new life after her husband goes to prison, only to be menaced by him when he escapes. It starred Derek Bond, Jane Hylton and Dora Bryan.[1]


Duncan McLeod (Derek Bond), a gentleman artist and former Naval officer, assisted by his crewman Lefty Brown (Michael Balfour), engages in smuggling contraband liquor between France and Britain across the English Channel. Duncan and Lefty store the liquor at "The Quiet Woman", a local pub in a coastal town on the edge of Romney Marsh in Kent, only to find one day that its complicit owner has moved away without telling them, and the pub is now being run by Jane Foster (Jane Hylton) and her friend Elsie (Dora Bryan). Jane makes clear that she does not approve of activities that break the law, and demands that Duncan and Lefty remove their cache of contraband liquor from her property immediately or she will contact customs officials. Duncan and Lefty are attracted to Jane and Elsie respectively, and try to court them. The women are initially cold, but over time become more receptive to them. Unbeknownst to Duncan, Jane was unhappily married to criminal Jim Cranshaw, who is now serving a prison term. Jane is keeping her past a secret while trying to build a new, law-abiding life.

Two new arrivals in town take rooms at the pub: Bromley (John Horsley), a former Navy colleague of Duncan, and Helen (Dianne Foster), an artist's model and former girlfriend of Duncan who has come in response to his request for a model to pose for his latest painting. Helen attempts to rekindle her romance with Duncan, but he is not interested in her and is pursuing Jane. Bromley is supposedly on holiday, but in reality is a customs inspector tasked with secretly investigating Duncan's smuggling activities.

Jane's husband, Jim Cranshaw (Harry Towb), from whom she is separated, suddenly appears at the pub, having escaped from prison several days earlier, and demands that Jane hide him and arrange with Duncan to transport him across the Channel to France. He threatens Jane that unless she helps him, he will tell authorities that she has been hiding him ever since he escaped, making her look complicit. Under pressure, Jane agrees to hide Jim, but refuses to tell Duncan or involve him in the matter. Meanwhile, a newspaper runs a story on the escape revealing Jane's past involvement with Jim. Helen jealously reveals the story to Duncan and Jane in an attempt to break up their relationship, and makes clear that she suspects Jane of being involved in Jim's most recent escape. Fed up with Helen's interference, Duncan fires her from the modelling job and tells her to leave town. Duncan then learns via Lefty and Elsie that Jane is hiding Jim in the pub's attic. In order to protect Jane, Duncan and Lefty secretly move Jim from the attic without Jane's knowledge, and spirit him away aboard Duncan's boat for transport to France. As a result, when the local police come to the pub searching for Jim, he is gone, but Helen, who has not left town as directed, tells them that she saw Jim going into Duncan's house, and that Lefty was there too. Bromley asks Jane if she persuaded Duncan to smuggle Jim out of the country, and when she says she didn't, tells her to telephone Duncan's house to warn him, and goes down to the quay himself to try to stop him if he has already left the house. Meanwhile Elsie, furious at Helen's malicious behaviour, follows her upstairs, and, from below, slapping noises followed by shrieks from Helen are heard, then Elsie walks downstairs, dusting her hands off, and announces that they have a room vacancy.

Bromley finds Lefty on the quay, Duncan having refused to take him on the boat to France in case they get caught. Bromley makes it clear that he knows Jim is on Duncan's yacht, and he and Lefty follow in another boat, soon catching up with them. They see Duncan and Jim on board, and see Jim draw a gun on Duncan, causing the two men to fight and fall overboard. Bromley and Lefty rescue Duncan, but Jim is struck by Duncan's boat and killed. Bromley, who has become aware of Duncan's love for Jane, tells Duncan to be more careful in future about checking for stowaways. An uncomprehending Duncan starts to protest, but Bromley says that this way is better for Jane. Duncan returns to a waiting Jane, who is now free to love him.


Critical reception

The film historians Steve Chibnall and Brian McFarlane say Jane Hylton "made something very interesting of the pub-keeper with an escaped-convict husband and a dashing smuggler boyfriend (Derek Bond). She suggests, often with evocative stillness, a woman whose past is unravelling and whose future she is tentatively trying to make something of." They also praise Dora Bryan's strong performance in support.[2]


  1. ^ new_market41 (1 March 1951). "The Quiet Woman (1951)". IMDb.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Steve Chibnall & Brian McFarlane, The British 'B' Film, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2009, p. 134.