Douglas Fairbanks, Jr and Maureen O’Hara, Sinbad the Sailor
August 17 is Maureen O’Hara’s date of birth, meaning it’s kind of a holiday in my little world. I have always LOVED the fact that two of my absolute favorites, Maureen O’Hara and Lucille Ball, share my birth month. Truth be told, it makes me kind of giddy.
I love that TCM is devoting Maureen’s birthday to an entire day for her and her films. I’ve always loved their Summer Under the Stars each summer and I love it even more when my favorites have their own days.
Maureen O’Hara, Jamaica Inn
Below, in order, are the movies that will be shown (check your local listings for the time):
Jamaica Inn (1939, directed by Alfred Hitchcock). The movie co-stars Charles Laughton. It marked Maureen’s film debut. She was so incredibly young in this film… with the face of an Irish angel.
A Woman’s Secret (1949, directed by Nicholas Ray). I love this film noir, mystery so much. It co-stars one of my favorite actors, Melvyn Douglas and another of my favorite actresses, Gloria Grahame. Rounding out the cast and doing it in scene-stealing fashion are Mary Philips and J.C. Flippen. Neither could possibly be any funner to watch than they are in this one.
The Fallen Sparrow (1943, directed by Richard Wallace). I’m so glad TCM is showing this VERY rarely shown drama… it’s a good one! Maureen’s co-stars are John Garfield, Walter Slezak, Patricia Morison, and Martha O’Driscoll. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to catch this one – it isn’t shown on television often.
The Rare Breed (1966, directed by Victor McLaglen). The Westerns Maureen made with John Wayne get all of the attention, but she made other outstanding Westerns without the Duke. The Rare Breed stars one of my favorite actors, James Stewart. Although he and Maureen lead the cast, the movie is all but stolen by Brian Keith (in a particularly entertaining role!) and Juliet Mills. They’re all wonderful in their roles, but Brian Keith and Juliet Mills are honestly why this movie works. They bring charm and humor and its palpable.
At Sword’s Point (1952, directed by Lewis Allen) This one’s a very underrated movie. Maureen Plays the daughter of Athos (of Three Musketeers fame) in this Technicolor swashbuckler. Co-stars include Cornel Wilde, Robert Douglas, Gladys Cooper, and Alan Hale, Jr.
Sinbad the Sailor (1957, directed by Richard Wallace). I can’t tell you how much I love the fact that TCM is airing these two technicolor beauties back to back. The more swashbuckling the better! Sinbad the Sailor has surprising little actual fighting…. very, very little in fact. However, the charisma of Douglas Fairbanks Jr, the beauty and sass of Maureen O’Hara, and the great humor of Walter Slezak make it an entertaining film in spite of little actual swashbuckling.
The Wings of Eagles (1957, directed by John Ford) With everything they meant to her, personally, and to her career, I am so very, very thankful that TCM is airing one of her films with John Ford and John Wayne. When I first saw the lineup, I was disappointed that The Quiet Man (one of the greatest films of all time) wasn’t included – but then I realized, it’s shown frequently on television. Her day is a special time to show movies that are harder to catch. This outstanding movie is a great one to represent the trio. The biographical drama also stars Ward Bond, Dan Dailey, and Ken Curtis (Festus from Gunsmoke!)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939, directed by William Dieterle) Maureen O’Hara and the wonderful Charles Laughton are teamed again for this masterpiece. If you are an avid old movie fan, you have probably seen this one before. I encourage you to watch it again – if only to marvel at the talent of Charles Laughton. The man was phenomenal and his performance in this film leaves me speechless.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947, directed by George Seaton, who was also one of the writers) I was pleasantly surprised that this one made the lineup! I love the thought of people who have never seen this excellent classic getting a chance to watch it. It is movie magic, plain and simple. The film co-stars John Payne, Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwenn, William Frawley, and Gene Lockhart.
This Land is Mine (1943, directed by Jean Renoir) Yet again Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara team up in a wonderful drama and, truth be told, he is every bit as mesmerizing in this role as in his role as Quasimodo. The movie also stars George Sanders and Walter Slezak (he made quite a few movies with Maureen!).
Sitting Pretty (1948, directed by Walter Lang). This light, fun comedy co-stars Robert Young (who is always excellent in everything), Clifton Webb, Richard Haydn, and Louise Allbritton.
Spencer’s Mountain (1963, directed by Delmer Daves) Maureen O’Hara has starred with my absolute favorite actors – James Stewart, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr – and here she’s teamed with yet another one… the wonderful Henry Fonda. They’re perfect together in this outstanding movie. The film also stars James MacArthur and Virginia Gregg.
Maureen O’Hara and Henry Fonda, Spencer’s Mountain