John Wayne left speechless by Maureen O’Hara’s forbidden improvisation
Initially, she had refused to say the mystery words, writing in her memoir years later, “I couldn’t possibly say that to Duke!” However, Ford insisted that the actress do it, so as to get a genuinely shocked reaction from her co-star, which totally worked.
Only those three knew what the line was and took it to their graves. Given that the director considered The Quiet Man to be his steamiest picture, presumably, it was something considered risqué in the early 1950s.
Of course, this scene and the final fight almost didn’t end up in the movie until Ford pushed for the final cut in his usual uncompromising manner. Republic Pictures had insisted that The Quiet Man be no longer than two hours, believing that audiences wouldn’t want to sit in a cinema for any time beyond that.
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