Maureen O’Hara made an indelible impression on moviegoers of several generations. Here at the Savannah Film Festival, the gifted young actress Saoirse Ronan spoke of meeting her and how she represented a success story that resounded with Irish moviegoers to this very day. She was inevitably described as fiery (in part because of her flaming red hair) and feisty, onscreen and off. On film this quality made her a perfect partner for John Wayne, someone who could stand up to him—believably. In person, it meant there was no such thing as a dull conversation, even if some of the stories she spun might best be described as blarney.
I only met her once, on the set of the 1991 movie Only the Lonely, in which she played John Candy’s mother, but she gave me a lively interview. She spoke fondly of her mentors, Charles Laughton and producer Erich Pommer, and namedThey Met in Argentina as her all-time worst movie. I regret that being out of town prevents me from digging into my files and quoting from that conversation, but I hope to do so when I return home. I couldn’t let the week pass without posting something about O’Hara and her contribution to the golden age of Hollywood.