Mar 21, 2011

The Maureen O'Hara Week

I know, it sounds pretty official, but I'm just calling that way the fact that the past week I saw seven movies from the Irish red-head filmography. I usually do that when I'm reading bio/autobiographies of actors or actresses. Here are some brief thoughts about them:

  • "Against all flags" (George Sherman; 1952): Awesome pirate film! Errol Flynn and Maureen look great together and they ooze energy and chemistry. Combines humor, romance and action and it was filmed in Technicolor. Loved the costumes. My favorite scene:

  • Re-watched "The quiet man" (John Ford; 1952): What can I say? "Impetuous! Homeric!". I know you all love it, so I won't say much about it. Instead, I'm going to tell you a story. The other day I said to myself "If the first cover I see in the next DVD store's showcase is The Quiet Man, I'll buy it". Well, I bought it :)
  • "Sitting Pretty" (Walter Lang; 1948): I loved, loved this movie. It's a funny little film, starring Clifton Webb and Robert Young. Maureen and Robert decide that they just can't cope with her children anymore, so they hire a nanny. The problem is that the new nanny is a strict man with mysterious hobbies. The only thing I didn't like is that Robert's character, the dad, was kind of annoying: because he's jealous of Mr. Beldevere, he prefers to send Maureen to sleep in another house, leaving his little children alone with a "stranger". Oh, discovered over Sarah's blog that there's a series about the same character. 

  • "The Long Gray Line" (John Ford; 1955): Definitely my least favorite from the list, which is very weird because it was directed by John Ford and Tyrone Power plays the lead. The problem? Well, the story. An Irish guy loves the American Army, specifically the instruction of the military academy in West Point AND he spends his whole life serving this academy (but without becoming a real soldier). I don't know, I just didn't get Tyrone's adoration for the institution (nor Maureen's, his wife). Plus, when they get older, is so obvious that they are the same young actors with gray wigs that's just not cool. There are some emotional moments and some funny ones, but overall it wasn't very good IMO.

  • "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation" (Henry Coster; 1962): I liked this one a little more than The Long Gray Line, but just a little. There's something with watching stars from the 40s and 50s in crazy 60s movies (unless they are Ingrid Bergman). To me, they seem out of place, it's a bit sad. But that's just me. James Stewart remembers a holiday he spent with his family at the beach. Some of his daughters had marital troubles, another one had a real bad time with her new braces, the son was addicted to TV and the whole house they rented had technical problems. There are too many things happening, you don't really connect with the kids, there are some shocking scenes that involve James punching the guy from Tiffany's and leaving his face covered with blood...And even the music, by Henry Mancini, is really forgettable (!!!). I don't know, it was fun enough to watch it once, but it lacked charm. 

  • "Our Man in Havana" (Carol Reed; 1959): This one was interesting. It's the first "noir comedy" I've ever seen. Alec Guinness plays a vacuum cleaner seller living in Havana with his daughter. For some reason, he's contacted by the British government to work for them as a secret agent. He starts to fake his reports, inventing people and events. But then everything gets complicated because his lies are effective and he becomes a real target of the bad guys (didn't get who they were). I liked it overall, it had fun moments (is it me, or Woody Allen imitates Alec Guinness?), but its dark atmosphere didn't let me enjoy it completely. Oh, Maureen appears like half an hour before the movie ends, as Alec's assistant and love interest. Didn't shine at all.

  • "This Land is Mine" (Jean Renoir; 1943) Loved it. Reading "'Tis Herself" I've noticed how much Maureen cared about Charles Laughton. Well, in this movie it shows. Laughton brilliantly plays a coward mommy's boy at the beginning of the World War II. He and Maureen are teachers at a school in German-occupied France. He loves her, but she doesn't know. Well, after a series of dramatic events, Laughton has the opportunity to show both courage and the love for his colleague. Oh, kudos for George Sanders, he's obviously great as a traitor and Maureen's fiancé. There's tension, suspense, sacrifice, love for freedom and an unusual point of view of occupation (the people who really allow it are the ones who think only on themselves, greedy, corrupt people). I really recommend it (it's in Youtube

Oh, I also tried to watch "Sinbad the sailor" (Richard Wallace; 1947), but I found it so boring and cheap looking that just couldn't keep watching.

 What do you think? Agree, disagree with my reviews?


  1. I haven't seen any of them, but plan to see some at least. I have Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation. It looks like something I may like and I hope I will watch it soon. I like Maureen :)

  2. Hey, Desiree, yeah you should see some of these. From this list, you NEED to watch "The quiet man". Then, "This land is mine" and "Against all flags". If you're in the mood for a light comedy, I'll recommend "Sitting pretty" instead of "Mr. Hobbs...". Take care, thanks for commenting :)

  3. As a looooong time Maureen fan, I've seen them all... I agree with most of your reviews, though I did like "The Long Gray Line" a little more than you did...I need to rewatch some of them. :)

  4. Thanks for sharing your opinion, Leehee! Cool you are a long time Maureen fan, I just started to watch her movies this year :)

  5. As a looooong time Maureen fan, I've seen them all... I agree with most of your reviews, though I did like "The Long Gray Line" a little more than you did...I need to rewatch some of them. :)



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