Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Technicolor and John Wayne.
The Egyptian Theatre Foundation will feature a special airing of the Academy Award-winning "The Quiet Man" (1952, G) in honor of the Irish holiday. The romantic comedy, directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara and Barry Fitzgerald, is about an American boxer who retires to a small Ireland town and falls in love.
"This was a real change of pace for John Wayne. It was his first really romantic picture," said Van Summerill, a historian and member of the Egyptian Theatre Foundation.
The legendary Wayne became an icon as a result of his gunslinging, tough-guy roles in film. Out of a movie career of more than 100 movies, this picture stands out to Luckey Heath, also a member of the Egyptian Theatre Foundation.
"Except for 'The Quiet Man,' they are pretty forgettable," Heath said. "He was so John Wayne that it was hard to separate him."
Wayne and Ford became a popular duo with classics such as "Rio Grande" and "The Searchers." Summerill said that a lot of their success had to do with Wayne's great chemistry with Ford -- who wanted to create a film that honored his Irish ancestry.
"(Ford) actually discovered John Wayne," said Carla Woodmansee, film studies professor at Weber State University. "So they had a pretty good working arrangement, I think."
Ford cast Irish actors in the film -- even Wayne has family roots in Northern Ireland.
Heath toured Ireland several years ago and visited the small town of Cong -- the backdrop for the movie.
"It was such a pleasant step back in time to see the pride of the people ..." Heath said. "They have a small community museum that honors the making of the movie."
Heath was in awe of the rolling hills and the Irish town, the stunning imagery that was used to tell the story.
"That's what John Ford was so big on -- his vistas," Heath said. "So you will see an awful lot of Ireland in the film."
Ford was fond of Monument Valley in Utah, where he spent a lot of time filming.
"He did some good war films and he did some others," Woodmansee said. "But he was best known for his Westerns, and his Westerns from Monument Valley were exceptional."
"The Quiet Man" won the Oscar for Best Cinematography by capturing those vistas with the new color technology of the 1950s.
"The one thing I remembered specifically is the cinematography in Technicolor -- which is almost magical," Summerill said.
Summerill said that Republic Pictures, the studio that developed "The Quiet Man," was known for making secondary movies. But this picture was one of the few that the small-budget studio ever released in Technicolor.
"They did some color pictures. But they were in what they called True Color -- which was a two-color process as opposed to the three-colored process," Summerill said.
Summerill, who will introduce the movie on Thursday, said it was a struggle for John Ford to even make the film.
The studio put major restrictions on Ford, requiring that he direct a Western first with Wayne and imposed tight time restrictions. Ford met the challenge.
"It was the only Best Picture Academy Award that Republic Pictures would ever receive a nomination (for)," Summerill added.
In addition to the cinematography award, "The Quiet Man" also won a Best Director Oscar.
Watch a YouTube clip of "The Quiet Man"