Actor John Wayne frequently collaborated with director John Ford. However, their deep friendship went through some rough patches that bled into their careers. As a result, Wayne and Ford experienced some particularly uncomfortable moments. The director used the Oscar-winning actor to do what he wished he could do with Maureen O’Hara during a “passionate love scene.”
John Ford teamed John Wayne with Maureen O’Hara for ‘The Quiet Man’
The Quiet Man tells the story of a boxer named Sean Thornton (Wayne). He leaves America and returns to Ireland with the hopes of buying his family’s homestead. Sean has the goal of living a life of peace, but things are about to change. He runs into Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen), who wanted the property for quite some time. When Will’s sister, Mary Kate (O’Hara), begins a romance with Sean, he refuses to give up the property.
Ford teamed Wayne and O’Hara together on The Quiet Man with clear intentions. He regularly worked with both actors, considering them favorites of his. O’Hara first worked with Ford on 1940’s How Green Was My Valley. Wayne and O’Hara previously starred in Ford’s Rio Grande in 1949, but Ford wanted to find a reason to bring them back together on the silver screen.
John Ford put John Wayne in an awkward situation during a ‘passionate love scene’ with Maureen O’Hara
Pilar Wayne and Alex Thorleifson’s book, John Wayne: My Life With the Duke, explored a very awkward situation while filming The Quiet Man. Wayne and O’Hara had to film a “passionate love scene” in the pouring rain, but Ford made it particularly uncomfortable.
“Through a series of takes, Ford exhorted his stars to make their kisses more passionate, their embrace even tighter,” Pilar wrote. “Eventually, Duke could feel every line and curve of Maureen’s body through her soaked clothes, and he suspected she could feel every line of his. When I asked Duke years later how Ford could have prolonged the shooting of that particular scene with Maureen, Duke replied, ‘Hell, Honey, Ford just had me do all the things he wanted to do himself.'”
Nevertheless, Wayne was very impressed with his own work in the Ford-directed movie alongside O’Hara. In fact, he considered it some of his very best work at the time. However, The Quiet Man wasn’t out of the woods quite yet, as Hollywood politics interfered.
The actor left Republic Pictures over ‘The Quiet Man’ artistic control
Republic Pictures founder and CEO Herbert J. Yates provided some hardships for Ford on the Wayne-starring movie. After seeing a rough cut of the film, he decided that The Quiet Man wasn’t commercial enough. As a result, he insisted Ford and Wayne to make additional cuts and to change the name to The Fighter and the Colleen. However, they maintained artistic control and denied making such extreme changes.
Wayne wasn’t willing to sit still when Yates attacked Ford in that fashion. The actor didn’t believe that the studio head understood anything about Hollywood.
“The man had the soul of an accountant,” Wayne told Pilar. He previously only stuck around with Republic Pictures because Yates promised to finance The Alamo. Wayne ultimately announced that he was leaving the studio and cut ties with the studio executive.