Screengrab: John Wayne’s Secrets

from Richard Lutz


There’s a great Hollywood story about the final shot in that John Wayne/John Ford classic The Quiet Man (Mon; Ch4, 12.45) .

It goes like this: In the last scene, Wayne and his co-star Maureen O’Hara stand on top of a sunny knoll after all the Irish brawling, drinking and mayhem. All is sweet with the world. They will marry. (sorry spoiler alert)

Director John Ford wanted to inject some spontaneous reaction in Wayne. He asked O’Hara, a staunch and prim Catholic,  to whisper something obscene into her co star’s ear.

She refused when he recommended a line or two. ‘I couldn’t  say that to anyone but my husband.’ she said.

Ford promised that only she, Wayne and he (Ford) would ever know what she said. She reluctantly agreed and whispered the unknown words.

In that final scene O’Hara does whisper something to Wayne as they stand on that sunny knoll overlooking the Irish landscape.

For a second, stalwart John Wayne looks surprised, no… actually shocked. His persona in the film (ex boxer Sean Thornton) disappears and it is John Wayne the man reacting with incredularity as she takes his hand and they run back to their happy Irish cottage.

See it for yourself and remember this charming Hollywood anecdote. As for whether it is true or not…

Other films on the box: Clint Eastwood gets all boho, gentle and sympathetic and in The Bridges of Madison County (Mon; TCM, 10.10) with Meryl Streep.

It is Cary grant’s final film in Father Goose (Tues; Ch4, 12.50). He is a fogey beach bum who gets  cuddly  Audrey Hepburn. Goodbye Cary: word has it his real wife wife Dyan Cannon divorced him soon after because of his predilection for LSD.

Later in the week you come to a crossroads. Do you like or detest Woody Allen? One of his mellowest and funniest is Small Time Crooks (Thur; BB123.35). Brit comic Tracey Ullman and he open a cookie factory to get access to a bank for a burglary. The crime fails but the cookie factory is an outright success. It is funny- not that you can say that for some of his stuff recently

The next night sees a miracle: Tom Cruise in a good movie. Minority Report (Fri; BB2, 23.15) has him as a cop in the future who has to stop crimes before they happen. Let me repeat that: before they happen. It is a solid Spielberg film and Samantha Morgan from Nottingham is the weirdy girl who can foretell what comes next.

Earlier that night watch Juno (Fri;More4, 21.00) with Ellen Page as an offbeat mid teen who gets pregnant and handles it her quirky way. A small gem