Maureen and ‘The Duke’ in Ireland
By Jeff Salter
This weekend is St. Patrick’s Day. If you want to learn a bit about Patrick Himself – and see my poem about an Irish Lass – please take a gander at my column from last year at this time:
But what I want to talk about today is a terrific movie not only set in 1920s Ireland … but all the breathtakingly beautiful exteriors were actually filmed there. Directed by the legendary John Ford: The Quiet Man … from 1952. It’s based on Maurice Walsh’s 1933 (or 1936) short story by the same name.
Although he played neither a cowboy nor a horse soldier, it’s one of John Wayne’s best roles. And it features the gorgeous Maureen O’Hara, who always made me melt.
Fantastic supporting actors like Ward Bond, Victor McLaglen, Barry Fitzgerald, and Mildred Natwick … and dozens of others who look like they actually live there.
Nominated for seven Academy Awards, this film won two, including Best Cinematography.
The International Movie Database has a wealth of material about this film:
For me, one of the film’s highlights is the extended fight scene, part of which was shot in the grounds of Ashford Castle, Cong, County Mayo.
I didn’t really care much for the horse race, but that sequence was shot at Lettergesh beach, Connemara, on the west coast of Ireland.
The train station used in two scenes is Ballyglunin Station, south of the town of Tuam, County Galway.
When Ford pitched the idea (for this movie) to Hollywood producers, he was told that it was a “silly Irish story that won’t make a penny.” Ha.
This is one of the few Hollywood films in which you can hear Gaelic, the national language of Ireland.
The melody “The Isle of Innisfree”, by the Irish policeman/songwriter Richard Farrelly, was written “on a bus journey from County Meath to Dublin. The melody of ‘The Isle of Innisfree’ which is first heard over the opening credit sequence becomes the principal musical theme of The Quiet Man. The melody is reprised at least eleven times throughout the film.”
One final interesting bit of trivia from the IMDb:
“At the film’s conclusion, after the credits, we see Kate and Sean standing in their garden waving good-bye. Maureen O’Hara turns to John Wayne and whispers something in his ear, evoking a priceless reaction from Wayne. What was said was known only to O’Hara, Wayne and director John Ford. In exchange for saying this unscripted bit of text, O’Hara insisted that the exact line never be disclosed by any involved parties. In her memoirs she says that she refused to say the line at first as she ‘couldn’t possibly say that to Duke’, but Ford insisted, claiming he needed a genuine shock reaction from Wayne. The line remains a mystery to this day.”
In this clip (which includes the final portion of the fight scene), the mysterious whisper is at the 8:37 mark:
What do you guess Maureen whispered to John at the very end? What words could possibly embarrass this actress so much? And what could possibly SHOCK the Duke?
I can’t believe i’ve made it to your blog second week in a row! Yeah to me, and hi there to you 🙂 I just had to come here. The word Ireland is like a magnet …. and Blarney …. been there, nearly done it, chickened out …LOL
Never heard of the movie, but I might have to check the utube clip, that might ring a bell. Not my “time” and I’m not big on John Wayne if I may say so!
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona, Jeff!
Shazzam! Glad you made it, Iris.
And good news: you don’t have to be a fan of stereotypical John Wayne to really enjoy this film, because he plays a much deeper character than you’ve seen in any of his westerns and most of his war movies.
Also go to the IMDb site and see all the other trivia about the villages and buildings in this movie. For example, the stone cottage featured in the film has been slowly dismantled over the years by visiting tourists who also love this movie. Now, I do NOT defend vandalism in any way, but it speaks to how devoted the fans are.
Love the sound of Gaelic! Thanks for the links, Jeff.
Chris, there’s a lengthy bit of dialog between Maureen O’Hara and Ward Bond in which she’s ‘confessing’ to her priest. And she’s too ashamed to speak the words in English , so she confesses in Gaelic.
Confession. Though I’m a huge John Wayne fan and I just LOVE Maureen O’Hara (who is often a model for my heroines), I have never seen The Quiet Man. I’ve always heard it was a Must- See movie. I’m going to order it so I can watch it. 🙂
As for what she said, couldn’t imagine. It’s so incredibly hard to think of what might be embarrassing to her and shocking to him. Knowing of the real characters, and seeing that it could only be a quick one-liner, and by not wanting to speak it to ‘the Duke’ I’d say she had to say something personal, quite possibly about him. Or maybe she just said “meet you at the house for a shag”. *shrug* LOL!
Thanks, Jenn. And that’s a very good guess. Whatever Maureen said, she does it with a very mischievous and sexy smile. So, I’m sure it must have been in the realm of a ‘shag’ … though I’m guessing quite specific and very earthy.
Yes, I love that duo in films. I think they made at least 5 movies together.
You owe it to yourself to watch the entire movie. It’ll warm your heart … and the scenery is a feast for the eyes.
Whatever it was, I bet it was deliciously filthy! LOL. And here’s some trivia for you: I used to speak Gaelic. Now I’m rusty to the point of stuck because I’ve never known a soul who could converse with me to keep it up, but I do remember a few phrases (none of them filthy).
As always, a wonderful, thought-provoking blog!
Well, you’ll love this film, Sarah. And be sure to listen to Maureen’s confession to the priest, Ward Bond. The audience knows she’s confessing that she has banned John W. from her bed, but it’d be interesting to know what she actually says to Bond.
Where / when / why did you learn Gaelic?
I had a thing for Ireland, horses, and ghosts. My greatest wish was to tour the country on horseback, overnighting in castles along the way — a trip that would have tickled all aforementioned fancies. ;c) But I was in high school at the time and not able to take off on my own, so the dream (and the language) were both relegated to the back burner. I used a home language audio course before we even had a computer, and I relied on recording my voice to check my language against that of the tape. I’m sure it wasn’t perfect, but it sure was cool!
Maybe someday, still.
You never know, Sarah.
My guess was going to be “I’m pregnant,” but she spoke more than two words. lol Thanks for the reminder of this great movie…and the bit of trivia to intrigue me this morning.
That’s a great guess, Laurie. But, as you say, too brief for that whisper. I’m sure it was something very sexy … otherwise Maureen wouldn’t have been so intent on nobody ever hearing it.
All this talk about the movie makes me want to see it again soon.
I have a copy on VHS but need to get one on Blu-Ray. Ha.
My guess is that it was something very provocative!! I have to confess I’ve never seen the whole movie, but just knowing her personality 🙂 If I remember correctly she was a bit rebellious! 🙂
Maureen showed more personality and natural ‘fire’ in one short scene than many contemporary actresses can manage in an entire movie. She was terrific. Thanks for visiting, Lisa.
I don’t know what she said to the Duke but like Sarah I’m sure it was something that a well bred young lady would never say..
I have always loved this movie and watch it every chance I can.
And it was a stroke of genius for the audience NOT to hear the actual words. Just see the Duke’s reaction and watch them as they skedaddled toward their cottage. Priceless. They just don’t make movies like this anymore … which is very sad.
This and “Angel and the Badman” are my two favorite John Wayne movies, bc they seem different than most of his other stuff. I remember the whispering scene at the end and always thought it had something to do with getting started on filling that cradle they were given. But I imagine that in order to get the reaction it had to be something like, “I’m not wearing any underwear.” 😉 Ha ha! I’ll never be able to see that movie in the same light again!
Angel and the Badman is also a big favorite of mine. Gail Russell is lovely, though quite unlike the spirited Maureen O’Hara.
“I’m not wearing any underwear” might very well be the kind of comment she made. Or perhaps she offered to let him see inside her blouse? LOL
Super interesting, Jeff. I saw the movie a long time ago. I think I’ll have to see it again.
Thanks for visiting, Elaine.
did you watch the little clip at the end?
What do you think she whispered?
I don’t know that it was so much what Maureen said that shocked Duke , but the fact that SHEsaid it….although I hear that she used some pretty strong language on him , as he pulled no punches on that famous walk home ….seems he pushed her into sheep droppings.They said it was a good thing that they had to ‘loop’ the outdoor audio, as usual!
More trivia; the old man who seemed to be dying but got up to see the fight was John Ford’s brother, a very famous actor in Ireland, and the man who played young Fr. Paul was Maureen O’hara’s brother.
The children who watched the horse race and asked Mary Kate if she was going to put up her bonnet were John Wayne’s children…other children were Maureen O’Hara’s and John Ford’s relatives.
Maureen O’Hara also did secretary duty , as John Ford re-wrote sceens , she took down the notes. Can you imagine anyone doing that today?(Julia Roberts taking notes? Uh-uhn, it isn’t goig to happen!)
As you can tell, I LOVE the movie…it will be run here in my house tomorrow.
I think it’s cool that these actors took their kids (& I presume spouses) along for this wonderful location filming.
No, I can’t imagine any of the $30 million per movie actresses (these days) doing secretary duties. LOL
All this discussion makes me eager to see it again also. Hopefully this weekend if I finish my edits.
This movie brought back so many memories for me. It was such a good movie on its own, but it was also my parents’ favorite so I associate it with warmth, fun and family. They have John Wayne’s entire collection of films going back to when he did black and whites! This remains the most often played- thanks for including the clip. This made me smile.
You’re certainly welcome, Stacey. Your parents have wonderful taste! How do you like Angel & the Badman? It’s referenced in one of the comments above. Also a fav. of mine … though a totally diff. movie experience.
I’m adding this one to m “must see” list!!! Thank you Jeff!
I really want to know what she said now…
You’re welcome, Anne. If you can read lips, maybe you’ll be the first to figure it out.
Jeff, I am very surprised at the number of people who said that they have never seen the Quiet Man! I bet that Ronny has seen it over a hundred times, and I bet that I have seen it at least 50 as it runs several times a year on TCM or some of the other old movie channels. Ronny has never tired of John Wayne movies, but I must say that he wore me out on him, but Quiet Man is my absolute favorite. The little Irish guy who drove the buggy; the long, long fight; the humorous group in the bar and all the betting on the fight, the Catholic priest and the Episcopal (I guess) priest; the beautiful scenery and the wonderful love scene at the church ruin – I loved it all and can practically recite the dialog. As to what she told John Wayne, I am sure that it had a sexual content and surprised even crusty old John Wayne. I am sorry that I am late posting this, but I was caught up with Community Strings Project business Thursday and quite honestly forgot to read it.
Always a delight to see you here, Sug … no matter which day it is.
I haven’t seen this film nearly as many times as you and Ronny … but I’m sure I’ve seen parts of it at least a dozen times. All the way through, from beginning to end — maybe 3 times. After all this discussion, I want to see it again. And soon!
You are close.The “Rev.Mr.Playfair” (Arthur Shields).was a priest of the “Church of Ireland”, the domestic off-shoot of ‘The Church of England'(Anglican), which is basically Episcopalian here. In the movie when Victor McLaughlin’s characters is angry and tells the Catholic priest,(Ward Bond), that he’ll join the Church of Ireland, Bond replies”As if they’d have you!” Love it!
I forgot one piece of trivia: Arthur Shields and Barry Fitzgerald(Micealine, the matchmaker) were brothers.
That truly was is FAMILY movie!
And that’s a wonderful scene when Ward Bond covers his collar with a scarf and encourages all the villagers to pretend to be part of Rev. Playfair’s flock … to impress the Bishop and keep him from closing down that parish church.
The Best movie the Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne have made together. Was there something in said, that if the Duke made trilogy of Cavalry westerns they would make the Quiet Man. Well, for what ever reason the film was made, it was well worth it. There really is an Isle if Innisfree, just outside Sligo, Co. Sligo. I have enjoyed your link and information. and will visit again.
Thanks for visiting, Liam. Yes, I also recall reading something about how this film was a studio “throw-away” which they only agreed to oin exchange for the Duke’s participation in other projects. Funny how some of the best classic films can have such an “accidental” history.
Maureen O’Hara is the last surviving member of the cast of the Quiet Man.
Maureen was so terrific in that film. It’s a movie I could watch over and over. One of my favorites of John Wayne’s also. They had superb chemistry when paired together.
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