Classic Movie Review: Maureen O’Hara: One Fiery Redhead

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Classic Movie Review by Ellen Bunton

(and her eager assistant, Meatball)


A Regular Monthly Feature

  The first Wednesday of the month.

 Once again, we made it: November 4 2015  

One Fiery Redhead
Maureen O’Hara was hard to categorize.

First of all,  she was a true redhead; she didn’t need any help from the makeup department there.

She was undeniably beautiful yet somehow didn’t fall into the sex symbol category with another beauty, Hedy Lamarr.Hedy Lamarr


She could act.  She finally received the Academy HonoraryAward on Nov. 8,  2014, at the Governor’s Award Ceremony in Los Angeles.  The great actor Charles Laughton saw her in an audition in London and recommended her for the film Jamaica Inn.

She also played Esmeralda opposite Laughton’s Quasimodo in The Hunchback of NotreDame in 1939 yet she was never given the kinds of roles played by Bette Davis or Joan Crawford.bette davis

She will probably be best remembered as the woman who was “man enough” to stand up to John Wayne.

Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne

She made five films opposite Wayne including the classic How Green was my Valley (1941), about a Welsh mining family, and The Quiet Man (1942), set in Ireland, about a former boxer.

I recommend both films, as well as my favorite, McLintock (1963), based loosely on The Taming of the Shrew.

McClintockIt is a western-comedy that has all those scruffy character actors whose faces are familiar but whose names you can never quite remember. John Wayne’s son, Patrick,  plays in it,  and a young Yvonne DeCarlo, who had a long movie career before becoming Lily Munster on TV.

Maureen proved a real trooper in McLintock  when movie husband John Wayne chased her all through town during a town fair.

She spent most of the scene in only her camisole and bloomers!
Maureen O’Hara died in her sleep on October 24, 2015, at the age of 95.

Thanks to the magic of film this fiesty redhead will live on.


With Christmas shopping just around the corner, consider the purchase of another work about feisty ninety-year-olds, Looking for Lydia; Looking for God–available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble online on this website in hard cover, paperback, or ebook.

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3 Responses to "Classic Movie Review: Maureen O’Hara: One Fiery Redhead"
  1. Alison Daniels says:

    This was a wonderful tribute to beautiful Maureen O’Hara. Thanks, Ellen! I remember seeing her interviewed on the Turner channel and for some reason was surprised that she actually spoke with an Irish lilt to her voice. I was never much of a fan of John Wayne/Maureen O’Hara films but enjoyed her in melodramatic roles in Dance Girl Dance, A Woman’s Secret, Foxes of Harrow, and Forbidden Street. She was always a leading lady of great spirit and personality, it didn’t seem as if she would ever be anybody’s victim. She would have been a great red headed Scarlett O’Hara but for some reason I don’t think she was one of the hundreds considered for the part.

  2. Leslie says:

    I love Maureen O’Hara…including McClintock (I thought I was the only one who watched it anymore.) She was so pretty, and yet, didn’t seem to be afraid to get dirty. Great piece!

  3. Ellen Bunton says:

    I made an error when I said Maureen played opposite John Wayne in
    “How Green Was My Valley”, it was Walter Pidgeon, a handsome gentleman actor that frequently gets overlooked when actors of the golden era are discussed.

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