As a life-long film-buff, it would be blasphemous of me not to bid farewell to the legendary big-screen heroine, Maureen O’Hara.
The iconic Irish-born actress was known across the globe for playing an array of spirited leading ladies and matriarchs in classic films like ‘A Miracle on 34th Street’ (1947) and ‘The Quiet Man.’ She was one of the brightest stars during an unforgettable time in Hollywood’s glamorous history, earning the title of ‘The Queen of Technicolor’ as she carved her name alongside the best in cinema.
I was introduced to Maureen O’Hara’s movies in the same way that I first discovered the work of John Wayne, James Stewart and countless others of that era; on my Grandmother’s TV. When I was little, I’d sit beside my Nan as she ironed clothes and stroked one of her many cats with an old film on in the background. My Nan and I have watched our way through the majority of 50’s and 60’s cinema over the years; from westerns to film noir, but a true favourite of ours is ‘The Quiet Man.’
I’ve seen John Ford’s timeless film about a retired Irish-american boxer who returns home to the Emerald Isle, more times than I can count, and I still love it. It’s a light-hearted comedy tale set in an Ireland that is only found in mythology or Hollywood’s archives. The quaint love story is bursting at the seams with memorable characters, whether it’s john Wayne’s checked-suit-wearing gentleman, O’Hara’s tender-hearted spitfire of a leading lady, or her hilarious oaf of a brother played by the truly underrated Victor McLaglen. The role of stubborn red-head Mary Kate Danaher is undoubtably one of O’Hara’s best and one for which she’ll be most fondly remembered.
Another personal favourite of mine is one of her many collaborations with Wayne, the Wild West take on Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew,’ entitled ‘McLintock.’ O’Hara plays the estranged wife of the rich cattle baron, George Washington McLintock. It’s yet another delightful picture, which like it’s star matured wonderfully as the decades rolled by.
Maureen O’Hara has left behind a trail of pictures that continue to entertain audiences to this day, and thanks to this outstanding legacy she will be remembered in the antique glow of Technicolor for generations to come.