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?