‘The Quiet Man’: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at This Quintessential St. Patrick’s Day Movie

This St. Patrick’s Day is like no other many of us have ever experienced, what with no parades, no green beer, and no festivities of any kind due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affecting the world at this time.

From left to right, actors John Wayne (1907 - 1979) as Sean Thornton, Victor McLaglen (1886 - 1959) as Squire 'Red' Will Danaher and Maureen O'Hara (1920 - 2015) as Mary Kate Danaher in a publicity still for the film 'The Quiet Man', 1952
From left to right, actors John Wayne (1907 – 1979) as Sean Thornton, Victor McLaglen (1886 – 1959) as Squire ‘Red’ Will Danaher and Maureen O’Hara (1920 – 2015) as Mary Kate Danaher in a publicity still for the film ‘The Quiet Man’, 1952 | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

While it feels as though there’s very little we can control right now, one thing we can decide on is what we want to watch.

On this St. Patrick’s Day, it’s time to watch The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.

Here is a peek behind the scenes of this ultimate movie of Ireland.

Director John Ford apparently had feelings for the film’s star

The film’s director, John Ford (real name, John Martin Feeney), was not known for being a gentle-hearted sort. Blustery and even abusive, Ford could bring the crew and talent he worked with to tears at times because of his roughness and humiliating treatment.

A scene from 'The Quiet Man'
A scene from ‘The Quiet Man’ | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

It’s come to light recently that, as much as he berated The Quiet Man‘s leading lady, Maureen O’Hara, who played Mary Kate Danaher, Ford in actuality loved the Ireland-born actress. The director, almost thirty years older than O’Hara, was proud of his Irish heritage and considered her the perfect woman because she was utterly Irish, from her deep brogue to her fiery red hair.

The two worked on five films together and O’Hara knew that The Quiet Man was Ford’s love letter to her.

O’Hara, who died in 2015 at the age of 95, told The New York Times in 2004 of John “Duke” Wayne and Ford, “We look like a real couple, Duke and I, don’t we? John Ford gave both of us the confidence to do our best. But he was living out his fantasy of life through Duke and me. He was Sean [Wayne’s character] and I was his ideal woman.”

American actress Maureen O'Hara and film director John Ford
American actress Maureen O’Hara and film director John Ford | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The actress published her autobiography, ‘Tis Herself, in 2004 and openly mused about Ford’s feelings for her.

“For years I wondered why John Ford grew to hate me so much. I couldn’t understand what made him say and do so many terrible things to me. I realise now that he didn’t hate me at all. He loved me very much and even thought that he was in love with me.”

‘The Quiet Man’ won two Oscars

While the film did not win in the Best Film category, it did score one Oscar for Best Director for Ford (his fourth Oscar as director, a record unbeaten to this day), and another for its cinematographers, Winton Hoch and Artie Stout, for Best Cinematography.

A scene from 'The Quiet Man'
A scene from ‘The Quiet Man’ | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

The latter was understandable, because as much as Wayne and O’Hara filled the movie with star power, the ultimate and true star was the gorgeous Irish landscape.

It’s clear what many plan on doing this St. Patrick’s Day

Many on Twitter are making the most of having to stay indoors. If they can’t make it to the parade, the next best thing is watching a good Irish movie.

One tweet said, “The Quiet Man – Wikipedia Top of the morning everyone! Don your green & watch this classic St. Patrick’s Day movie! Get your mind off of Covid-19”

“I’ve got my 6 pack of Guinness ready for my own private St. Patrick’s Day party,” said another. “Just me, the Guinness and movies. I’m planning on The Quiet Man with John Wayne & Maureen O’Hara.”

“Today’s Upper! A slice of good news to start your day: It is St. Patrick’s Day, though certainly a different kind of one than we’ve seen before. Since we’re all cooped up at home, treat yourself to the best Irish movie ever made, John Wayne in ‘The Quiet Man,’ tweeted another fan of the film.