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The Quiet Man (1952)

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Article 3

O'Hara tells story behind 'Quiet Man'

by Doug Nye, Knight Ridder Newspapers

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1 November 2002 page 15E

For a while, Maureen O'Hara says, it appeared that director John Ford would never get his pet project off the ground.

Several Hollywood studios dismissed the story of a boxer from America returning to Ireland and falling in love with one of the locals as "a silly little Irish story."

"Ford took it to Fox, MGM and Paramount, and they all turned it down," O'Hara said recently. "Finally, Republic studios said they would do the picture." And "The Quiet Man," released in 1952, became one of the studio's most prestigious productions and one of the most beloved of Ford's movies. It has just been issued in a digitally remasterd 50th anniversary DVD edition with commentary by O'Hara.

O'Hara said she and John Wayne agreed to do the movie back in 1944.

"We shook hands on it that year," O'Hara said. "It took him (Ford) that long to get the movie made. But when he called, we were ready."

Although Republic president Herbert J. Yates had agreed to help finance the film, there was a catch. Ford had to make a Western first. Thus, what has become known as the third part of Ford's cavalry trilogy, "Rio Grande," was born.

"Mr. Yates said he wanted the Western so he could make money on what he was going to lose on 'The Quiet Man,' " O'Hara said with a laugh. "Of course he ended up making money on both."

O'Hara, 82, fondly remembers the nearly three months the crew spent in Ireland. It was a homecoming for her. She had come to America to appear as Esmeralda in 1939's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

While re-viewing "The Quiet Man," she said that there were several misconceptions about the film that she wanted to clear up.

"I read these things that I know are not true, and it just drives me mad," O'Hara said.

So what are the misconceptions?

-- The production year. "We actually made the movie the summer of 1951. I always read that it was produced in 1952. Not true. We made it in '51, and it was released in '52."

-- Wayne's little cottage. "So many reviews and books say the name of the cottage was 'White of the Morning.' The name was 'White of Morn.' I just think people should get it right."

-- The weather. "I have read numerous times that the weather was awful while we were shooting the movie. They say something like, 'Ford was plagued by bad weather and rain throughout the filming.' That is not true. I know. It rained only once while we were there. I was there, so I ought to know. It was one grand summer."

2002 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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