Festival attendees who queued up for this afternoon’s screening of John Ford’s HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941) at the historical El Capitan Theatre would have been wholly satisfied just to see that magnificent motion picture up on the big screen again or for the first time… but the icing on the cake for all 600-plus of us was the exclusive personal appearance by the film’s star, actress Maureen O’Hara, in coversation with TCM host Robert Osborne. Now 93 years old (though she had to take the word of a fan to tell her, having long lost lost interest in keeping score) and confined to a wheelchair, O’Hara nonetheless charmed the house with her native Irish wit (and accent!) and indomitable spirit, regaling us with stories about her irascible director John Ford, sharing her thoughts about long life and the life hereafter, and even calling out an audience member who sneezed to stand up so she could deliver a friendly benediction. In conversation on stage with TCM host Robert Osborne, O’Hara revealed that she has lost none of her star wattage, proving by turns fiercely intelligent, whimsical, motherly, and even laugh out loud funny… .
“Tell us about what it was like working with John Ford.”
“I thought I was here to talk about me!”
Though her time with us was limited, Maureen O’Hara did not disappoint expectations and was the grand recipient of two standing ovations, coming in and going out. Long live the Queen of Technicolor… who looks pretty darned beautiful in black and white, too.