Maureen O'Hara was born in Ireland on August 17, 1920 and just passed away on October 24, 2015. She was strong, beautiful with her red hair and green eyes, and about the only woman allowed in the Men's club of John Ford's group that included John Wayne and Ward Bond.
She is one of my all time favourite leading actresses and one woman I wish I could have met. It is a shame that Hollywood of today talks more about overly botoxed idiots that never show any ounce of working than speak of someone with such class, grace and wonder like Maureen O'Hara, who, incidentally, could sing as well.
I have put together a list of my favourite top 11 films I have seen her in. There are some films I have not seen like "The Black Swan" or The Spanish Main," but I think I still put together a pretty decent list that I hope, some of you, will get the chance to see some of these one day. So here is my list:
11. BIG JAKE-1971- She had a small part in this film but yet you could feel the warmth and genuine respect she and John Wayne had for each other. She plays his estranged wife who has requested for him to find their grandson. A wonderful western.
10. THE RARE BREED-1966- She stars with both James Stewart and Brian Keith in this film that has some comedic overtones. Her daughter has trained their bull, meant to produce new stock, to come when whistled for. Of course, Ms. O'Hara is the object of affection from both Stewart's and Keith's characters. This film is not shown much, which is a shame.
9. THE PARENT TRAP- 1961- This is a famous Disney film where twin girls try to reunite their divorced parents. It is a fun movie to watch especially with Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith as the parents. By the way, Maureen O'Hara was not too happy with Disney.
8. RIO GRANDE-1950- This film is the first of 5 films she made with John Wayne and she loved him from the start...and vice-versa. She plays his estranged wife come to take her son back who has joined the regiment his father leads. A great western showing a beautiful tenderness between the 2 leads.
7. MR. HOBBS TAKES A VACATION-1962- James Stewart takes his wife, Maureen O'Hara and their brood to a seaside cottage. It is fun and a very pleasant comedy with teens being frisky as only a G rated movie can show them...in other words, unrealistic, but it is so much fun.
6. ONLY THE LONELY-1991- I have not seen this film in a long time but yet it is one of the sweetest that John Candy ever made. He plays O'Hara's son who falls in love with a cosmetician who works in a funeral home. His mom is not pleased with her son's romance even though her son seems very happy with his new girlfriend. In turn, Anthony Quinn plays a neighbour who has the hots for the mom. On a side note, John Candy had a big trailer compared to the much smaller one for Maureen O'Hara. He requested the executroids to give her the same size trailer but they stated the budget wouldn't allow it. Candy gave her his trailer and took the much smaller one. When the Execs found out, they gave him a new trailer!
5. HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY-1941- A great John Ford non-western showing a small village and the family living in this village and working in the mines. Maureen O'Hara is the beautiful daughter who falls in love with the local minister and vice-versa. This won the Oscar that year over Citizen Kane. Even if Citizen Kane is the better film, this should not diminish how good this film is.
4. MCLINTOCK-1963- What a fun, rousing western! Of course she plays the estranged wife of John Wayne who has come back to town and knows how to rattle his chains! He knows how to do the same and they know how to "duke" it out. She often did most of her own stunts so the famous mud scene has most of the actors doing the stunts themselves although she stated that falling from the ladder into the horse's trough was the most dangerous.
3. THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME-1939- She plays the beguilingly beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda to Charles Laughton's hunchback. Charles Laughton actually discovered her and brought her to Hollywood with this being one of her first films. This film still makes me tear up and is my favourite of all the remakes (sorry Lon Chaney).
2. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET-1947- We all know this classic and who else could play the beautiful, independent mom in charge of many people than Maureen O'Hara. She plays the scenes with such conviction and can show authority and compassion equally.
1. THE QUIET MAN-1952- Oh of course this would be #1!! She was never more beautiful, starring in a John Ford film with all the favourites in it including John Wayne who falls for the beautiful maiden. He plays a former boxer who refuses to fight. She falls for him but feels he is a coward for not fighting for her dowry that her brother refuses to give. It all culminates in a wonderful drag out fight. Wayne's character literally drags O'Hara off the train, through the fields over cow doo-doo to "talk" to her brother. I found that scene one of the most romantic moments!
So there is my top 11. I could not do only 10.
Here she is singing Danny Boy...enjoy.