Where could you find anything better than John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara?
March 18th, 2011 | Classic Films
On the day after St. Patrick's Day it's obvious I'd post something about one of my all-time favorite films, The quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. In fact, it's too obvious which is precisely why I'm going to fight the impulse to do so.
Instead, I'll post something about another John Wayne/Maureen O'Hara film, McLintock.
Today this movie is about as politically incorrect as you could imagine and in a variety of ways. However, it's still extremely entertaining. In the interviews that follow with both Maureen O'Hara and Stephanie Powers, much is made of the chemistry between O'Hara and Wayne and the bigger than life personalities of the stars. and rightly so. In fact, I would call this a "personality movie." A film that you watch precisely to enjoy the charm and mystique of a particular star, or in this case, two stars and not necessarily for the story.
One of my all-time favorite actors is Spencer Tracy. when I talk about how great an actor and how forceful a screen presence Spencer Tracy was, I like to emphasize my admiration for him by saying, "I'd pay to watch him eat breakfast." The point is that when you watch Tracy give a performance, he's so riveting you can't look away from him. While I don't think John Wayne was quite as powerful an actor as Tracy, he was certainly as powerful a personality.
Fifty years ago we talked primarily about "movie stars." now we talk about "actors." In my personal opinion, I'd say an actor is someone who "becomes" the character he or she is portraying. A star is someone who "takes over a role or character." A star's persona is so great and so powerful that you feel as though you're watching John Wayne play a character who is the same person as the actor is in real life. Right? Think about Cary Grant's best comedies – and there were a lot of them – didn't you always feel that was Cary being himself?
I suppose there may be a bit of truth to that but for the most part I don't think the great personalities were intentionally playing themselves any more than Al Pacino thinks he's playing himself in the movies. I just think that for whatever reason, their personalities and their charisma were so strong and so appealing that America "made them" in to John Wayne or Cary Grant . . . along with some help from the old studio factories that were always looking for "character types" rather than thespians.
There were few partnerships in the history of Hollywood as successful and appealing as Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne. they made less than half a dozen films together, not many considering the amount made by other "teams" like Tracy and Hepburn or Myrna Loy and William Powell. yet when O'Hara and Wayne got together you knew the sparks were going to fly and you were going to end up watching their scenes together with a smile of contentment on your face.
I've always felt Maureen O'Hara was a little underrated among her peers. she is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful women ever to grace the silver screen. she is now ninety years old and in the interview you're about to see I think shes about eighty-six and she still looks fabulous. I don't know much about her but I know that I've always believed everything she's ever told me on the screen.
Kudos also to Stephanie Powers who you'll see in these clips. she must be about 65 in this interview and she looks more gorgeous than ever! What a refreshing treat to see mature Hollywood actresses who haven't had their faces stretched every which way but loose.
So here's Ms. O'Hara, Ms. Powers and a trailer for this funfest of a film.