Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Express Yourself--love at the movies

I have to admit that I am not that big on love scenes in movies.  Even in Romance films, the love scenes aren't necessarily my favorite parts.  Just to give one example, I love Ghost, but the pottery wheel scene is not my favorite part of the movie. There are a few like the airport scene in Casablanca, that are so much a part of the film that I do like them. On  the other hand, the first time I saw Titanic I was throwing things at the TV and yelling "Get to the iceberg already!"

But the topic this week is favorite love scenes in movies, and I do have a favorite--the graveyard scene from The Quiet Man. Its a movie I have loved since I was young. (my Irish Grandma was born on St Patrick's Day, even before DVD;s we watched it whenever it was on.) Let me tell you a little about this film and my favorite scene.

I am sometimes yes, sometimes no on John Wayne, it depends on the movie. But I think it  can be said that more than any other actor of the golden age of Hollywood he worked well with strong female leads.  He didn't mind sharing the screen time with them, actually upped his game when he had one to work against. This is true all the way to his last movie, The Shootist, where he worked across from Lauren Bacall.  Of all those strong willed females costars, the very best was Maureen O'Hara. I have always loved Maureen O'Hara.  I think she was one of the most beautiful actresses ever to appear on film, and one of the few who was equally lovely in both black and white or color.  (Most actresses look better in one or the other. Bette Davis, or Greta Garbo, looked better in black and white.  Elizabeth Taylor looked better in color.) She was great in alot of movies, (I particularly like her in How Green was my Valley, one of my favorite films) but she was at her very best when working with John Wayne and being directed by John Ford.

Which brings me to The Quiet Man.  This romance about a  boxer who kills a man in the ring, retires to his native Ireland to find peace and quiet, only to find he has to fight to keep the woman he loves almost didnt get made.  The studio didnt think there was any money in it.   But Ford,Wayne, and O'Hara all wanted to make the film, and the studio wanted to keep them happy so after a number of trade-offs they were all allowed to trek off to Ireland with some technicolor cameras and make this movie.

The story is surprisingly mature for a 50's romance.  When Mary-Kate's brother refuses to pay her dowry to her husband, she refuses to sleep with him, saying that without the money that belongs to her, she is just chattel changing hands from brother to husband.  Sean,who has plenty of money for both of them from his boxing career doesnt understand why she cares about the money. At one point, to evade the censors, Mary Kate tells the whole story to her parish priest-in Gaelic.  In one of the funniest lines in the film, the priest tells her "Ireland may be a poor country but here a man sleeps in a bed with his wife and not in a bag on the floor..."

Eventually everything works itself out, of course and all live happily ever after.

If havent seen this movie you should. TCM almost always runs it around St Patrick's Day, or if you can get the DVD with the commentary by Maureen O'Hara you will learn all about the making of the film and the history of the locations as well.

Now to my favorite scene.  When Sean goes courting Mary Kate, he learns that there is an elaborate local custom in which courting couples are escorted to various activities, by the local marriage broker.  On ther first date, the walking out together, they evade their chaperone and go wandering across the countryside, and end up in an old cemetary, where this happens.

For my money, this is the sexiest love scene ever. No one takes their clothes off. No one has too. These two people realize in an instant that they love each other and belong together, and literally seal it with a kiss. WE should all be this lucky. This Post is part of  Express Yourself Meme. To see what other bloggers are saying on this same topic please click on the link.


  1. Meg, the graveyard scene from The Quiet Man is a very interesting choice. That scene is electric, in more ways than one, very romantic. Yes, Maureen O’Hara was beautiful. I am not always a John Wayne fan either but I liked him in this movie, True Grit, The Shootist, and a couple others. You are right about how well he worked with female leads. I love the airport scene in Casablanca too.

    1. Thanks Lil. One timeEntertainment Weekly picked the sexiest love scenes of all time and left this off. I don't know what they were thinging. My mom went to Ireland in 1999 and got to visit the town where the movie was filmed. I just love this movie.

    2. That’s wonderful that your mom got to visit the town in Ireland! I’ve seen many movies on lists of most romantic that I thought were real duds. You are right, The Quiet Man should have been on that list.