Tuesday, July 01, 2014

TCM Star of the Month: Maureen O'Hara

This evening TCM begins a month-long tribute to its July Star of the Month, Maureen O'Hara.

Over two dozen Maureen O'Hara films will be shown on five Tuesday evenings in July.

The wonderful Miss O'Hara will turn 94 on August 17, 2014. This celebration of her career comes just a couple of months after O'Hara was honored at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

Tonight, July 1st, there are seven films on the schedule, starting with her first American film, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939), costarring Charles Laughton, Cedric Hardwicke, Thomas Mitchell, and Edmond O'Brien. At the TCM Festival O'Hara emphasized what a wonderful man Laughton was and how important he had been to her career.

Next is John Ford's Oscar-winning classic HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941), followed by a film O'Hara has said is one of those most often mentioned to her by fans, SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY (1946).

THE FORBIDDEN STREET (1949) with Dana Andrews, A WOMAN'S SECRET (1949) with Melvyn Douglas and Gloria Grahame, and THE FALLEN SPARROW (1943) with John Garfield complete the evening.

Musicals and comedies are in the lineup on July 8th, starting off with DANCE, GIRL, DANCE (1940) with Lucille Ball and Louis Hayward.

SITTING PRETTY (1948), with Clifton Webb and Robert Young, is especially fun; no one who has seen it has forgotten Clifton Webb and the bowl of oatmeal!

Also airing on the 8th: THEY MET IN ARGENTINA (1941) with James Ellison, DO YOU LOVE ME? (1946) with Dick Haymes and Harry James, and OUR MAN IN HAVANA (1960) with Alec Guinness and Noel Coward.

One of the things for which O'Hara was best known was swashbucklers, which are the focus on July 15th. The evening leads off with THE BLACK SWAN (1942) with Tyrone Power, followed by THE SPANISH MAIN (1945) with Paul Henreid, SINBAD THE SAILOR (1947) with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and AT SWORD'S POINT (1952) with Cornel Wilde.

On July 22nd a half dozen Westerns and war films will air, starting with a film with which I'm completely unfamiliar, IMMORTAL SERGEANT (1943), costarring Henry Fonda.

BUFFALO BILL (1944) with Joel McCrea and Linda Darnell, McLINTOCK! (1963) with John Wayne and Yvonne DeCarlo, and THE DEADLY COMPANIONS (1961) with Brian Keith follow.

The 22nd wraps up with two John Ford films, THE WINGS OF EAGLES (1957) with her five-time costar, John Wayne, and THE LONG GRAY LINE (1955), which reunited her with Tyrone Power of THE BLACK SWAN.

The first film on Tuesday, July 29th, is one of my all-time favorite films, RIO GRANDE (1950). This film with John Wayne, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr., and many more is simply wonderful and grows better with each viewing. The evocative music sung by the Sons of the Pioneers makes it even more special. And that Roman riding by Johnson, Carey, and Claude Jarman Jr.! Highly recommended.

SPENCER'S MOUNTAIN (1963) is an entertaining if disappointing forerunner to THE WALTONS, reuniting her with her IMMORTAL SERGEANT costar, Henry Fonda. Look for Kym Karath (THE SOUND OF MUSIC) and Veronica Cartwright among the many Spencer children.

I'm especially interested in two lesser-known films, THE BATTLE OF THE VILLA FIORITA (1965), also starring Rossano Brazzi and Richard Todd, and FIRE OVER AFRICA (1954) with Macdonald Carey, her costar from COMANCHE TERRITORY (1950).

Due to licensing issues and/or expenses, COMANCHE TERRITORY and some of O'Hara's other Universal films are not in the lineup; also missing are such key films as MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947), THE QUIET MAN (1952), and THE PARENT TRAP (1961). The absence of THE QUIET MAN is somewhat surprising given how frequently TCM has shown it in the past. That said, it's a wonderful lineup including the chance to see some O'Hara titles which aren't as well known. July is a terrific opportunity to enjoy the work of a very special actress.

For more on TCM's tribute to Maureen O'Hara, please visit Aurora's post at Once Upon a Screen.

For more on TCM this month, please visit my post TCM in July: Highlights or check out the complete online schedule.


Blogger DorianTB said...

Laura, I'm delighted that you've launched your Maureen O'Hara bandwagon! We of Team Bartilucci have adored her since I first loved her when our family was watching THE QUIET MAN, and I discovered there was so much to this marvelous actress! Another film of hers that I enjoy: THE FALLEN SPARROW (loved the book first, then loved the movie (coming to TCM again, too), too), with John Garfield! Thanks for letting our O'Hara flag fly! :-D

5:37 PM  
Blogger Jerry E said...

Maureen O'Hara - one of classic cinema's greatest beauties and best actresses, as far I am concerned.
Great that TCM is honouring her.

By the way, Laura, I agree about "RIO GRANDE" - a wonderful western. I guess you already knew that handsome Ken Curtis who sang leads with the Sons Of The Pioneers and who features quite a lot in this film turned up later as hayseed Festus Haggen on the superb "GUNSMOKE" TV series?

5:44 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks so much, Dorian and Jerry! Dorian, I appreciate the recommendation of THE FALLEN SPARROW, that's a film I've not yet seen and the teaming of O'Hara and Garfield sounds very intriguing.

So glad you love RIO GRANDE too, Jerry. It's so funny you mention Ken Curtis because one evening on my vacation trip I streamed 5 STEPS TO DANGER and did a double-take at the very handsome FBI man -- yep, it was Ken Curtis! :)

Best wishes,

7:42 PM  

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