Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Quiet Man

In our current play, Stones In His Pockets, one of the characters, Mickey, is proud of the fact that his claim to fame is that he's one of the only living extras from the John Wayne film, The Quiet Man. My mom is a huge fan of the Duke, but I never was growing up, so I decided to do a little digging into this film.

The Quiet Man stars John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara, and was directed by John Ford. It's based on a Saturday Evening Post short story, and the story is pretty simple. Sean Thornton (Wayne) is an American boxer who returns to the land of his family, Ireland, to reclaim his family's farm. He meets Kate (O'Hara) who's spirited and beautiful, and the sparks fly. They fall in love. Kate's older brother, Will (played by Victor McLaglen), is pugnacious and unhappy about his little sister wants to marry this foreigner who outbid him for some land. Wacky hijinks ensue and they all live happily ever after. The film was released to rave reviews in 1951-1952 (so we're actually celebrating the 60th anniversary of the film) and was nominated and won a bunch of Oscars.

The trailer actually gives a ton of plot away so check it out if you're not familiar with this classic film.

Fun Facts About The Quiet Man:

1. This was the second of five films that Wayne and O'Hara did together.

2. 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, provoking 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.

3. During the scene where Wayne first kisses O'Hara, she slaps his face. When they blocked the blow in rehearsal, she broke a bone in her hand. Since the movie was being filmed in sequential order, she couldn't wear a cast to fix the broken bone. Yow!

4. John Wayne and John Ford decided to play a prank on Maureen O'Hara during filming. They chose the sequence where Wayne drags O'Hara across the town and through the fields. Before shooting the scene, Wayne and Ford kicked all of the sheep dung they could find onto the hill where O'Hara was to be dragged, face-down, on her stomach. O'Hara saw them doing it; with the help of several friends, she kicked the dung off the path, only to have Wayne and Ford kick it back on. O'Hara and her friends kicked it off again, and Wayne and Ford kicked it back. This went on and on until right before the scene was shot, when Wayne and Ford got in the last kick. According to O'Hara, "Duke had the time of his life dragging me through it. It was bloody awful. After the scene was over, Mr. Ford had given instructions that I was not to be brought a bucket of water or a towel. He made me keep it on for the rest of the day. I was mad as hell, but I had to laugh too. Isn't showbiz glamorous?" And she worked with Wayne on 3 more pictures?! Brave lady!

5. Charles Fitzsimons and James Fitzsimons were Maureen O'Hara's real life younger brothers. In this film, James was billed as James Lilburn, though he was later better known as James O'Hara. Barry Fitzgerald and Arthur Shields were also brothers in real life, and Francis Ford was John Ford's elder brother. Ken Curtis, later of Gunsmoke fame and newly married to John Ford's daughter Barbara, has a small role as the accordion player.

6. Wayne brought his four children along on location, and Ford gave them parts in the film's race scene.

7. The famous kissing scene between Wayne and O'Hara is shown in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, when E.T. watches television. E.T. is interested and moved by the scene, his telepathic contact with Elliot causes the boy to re-enact it while he is at school.

8. John Ford's real birth name? It's Sean Aloysius O'Fearna.

There's also apparently a ton of Quiet Man fans, Quiet Man tours, and even a fan club.

(Facts culled from IMdB, WIkipedia, and Amazon)

No comments:

Post a Comment