Maureen O’Hara was at her most beautiful in this loving tribute to the Emerald Isle. She stars as a fiery Irish lass who marries retired American boxer John Wayne only to see the relationship threatened when her brother (Victor McLaglen) refuses to hand over the dowry. Long a dream project for John Ford, the director had shopped the movie around Hollywood for two decades, going to B-movie studio Republic Pictures because nobody else would green-light the project. The director and his stars had to agree to make a Western for the studio to clinch the deal, which wasn’t a bad thing since the film was Rio Grande (1950), O’Hara’s first with Wayne. Then the trio took off for Ireland with some Technicolor cameras and several members of the unofficial Ford Stock Company, including Ward Bond, Barry Fitzgerald and Mildred Natwick. They brought back an enduring classic that won Ford a record fourth Oscar for Best Director and gave Republic its only Best Picture nominee. It also won for Winton Hoch and Archie Stout’s color cinematography of the Irish countryside.
Dir. John Ford
In attendance: Nancy Schoenberger