One of the leading voices in Irish cinema has described ‘Quiet Man’ star Maureen O’Hara as a feminist icon.
Ruth Barton, Head of the film studies department at Trinity College Dublin, argues that the Hollywood screen legend’s beauty may have prevented her from being labeled as a feminist.
“There have been actresses like Bette Davis who, because of the strong characters they played, were considered feminist icons. But Maureen O’Hara never was, possibly because she seemed so glamorous,” Barton told the Montreal Gazette.
“She played tough characters, sometimes cross-dressing. In one, she is a pirate queen, the captain of a ship; she is a fighter. Yet she is still quite elegant and stunning.”
Barton, who is a visiting scholar at Concordia’s School of Canadian Irish Studies for this fall semester, said that O’Hara will be remembered for her feisty nature.
“I think most people of a certain age remember O’Hara as the feisty Irish colleen in The Quiet Man, but in her day her big films were really that whole slew of swashbucklers (The Black Swan, Sinbad the Sailor et al.) that she did. Those films were what her reputation was based on,”
Barton has wrote several bestselling books on the topic of Irish film, including her latest “Hedy Lamarr, The Most Beautiful Woman in Film”.
Maureen O'Hara In "The Quiet Man"