By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –
John Wayne is one of the most famous and recognizable actors that Hollywood has ever known. He has starred in some of the greatest Westerns and War films in cinematic history. He also frequently starred alongside Maureen O’Hara, the actress affectionately known as “Big Red” because of her fiery red hair. Even though John Wayne is well-known for cowboy movies, he is actually a versatile actor capable of acting in other film genres. The dual partnership between John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara ultimately led to some of the greatest collaborations in film history, and The Quiet Man (1952) is a wonderful example of how both of these two performers really do shine together on the silver screen.
The love story between Sean Thornton (Wayne) and Mary Kate Danaher (O’Hara) is beautifully set against the backdrop of Ireland (oftentimes known as “The Emerald Isle”). Indeed, this film is astonishing to look at given the emerald green landscapes that earned this film an Academy Award nomination for its art direction. Maureen O’Hara looks absolutely gorgeous as the leading lady in this particular film, and it is a bit of a shame that neither of these two stars earned nominations for their performances. Nevertheless, John Ford definitely directed one of the best films from 1952, and his Academy Award victory for his directorial efforts was well-deserved. The film itself might have lost the coveted “Best Picture” Oscar to The Greatest Show on Earth, but it remains one of Ford’s crowning achievements.
Even with its outstanding art direction, some of the sets in the film appear to be really fake. Even John Wayne himself felt that some of the scenes filmed on studio sets looked very unconvincing in the finished film. This is just what happens when a Hollywood studio can only do so much to recreate the beauty and splendor of a country as gorgeous as Ireland.
Even though this was only the second time that John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara starred in a picture together, their on-screen chemistry is definitely there within this Best Picture nominee. The love between these two characters feels really genuine. Another element that felt really true and sincere was Maureen O’Hara’s singing (and she really did do her own singing in this film)! She even said that out of all of the films that she starred in, this film was her personal favorite. Such a collaboration between two of the greatest stars in film history really did result in one of the best romantic films that Hollywood has ever known.
The Quiet Man (1952) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every bonnet in the horse-racing scene
Treat Yourself to your Favorite Drink: for every scene in an Irish pub
Drink a Shot: for every romantic moment (and have additional shots for every kiss… but not literally, of course)
And enjoy Your Favorite Drink Again: for every beautiful shot of Ireland’s natural greenery that earned this film an Oscar for its cinematography