In 1951, the film director John Ford came to the west of Ireland to film The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. The grounds of the castle, as well as nearby Cong, formed the backdrop for much of the action in the film.
This sentimental film, Ford’s first ‘romantic love story,’ received a total of seven Academy Awards nominations (including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor – Victor McLaglen, Best Screenplay – Frank Nugent, Best Art Direction, and Best Sound) and won two Oscars: Best Cinematography – Winton Hoch and Archie Stout, and Ford (at 57 years of age) won his fourth and final Best Director Oscar, establishing a record that is still unbeaten.
The film was quite unusual compared to the earlier work of Ford and Wayne, who are mostly known for their westerns. It was also a departure for the Republic Pictures studio, which gave Ford a chance to make a film that was considered a risky adventure at the time. It was the first time that the studio, known for B-production films, was releasing an Oscar-nominated film.
Ford read the story back in 1933 and soon redeemed it for ten dollars. It took more than 12 years for the film to be funded and shot. The small studio Republic Pictures has agreed to fund the film with O’Hara, Wayne and Ford as the director, only if they agree to shoot a western for the studio. They agreed and after filming the western Rio Grande, they went to Ireland to start filming.
The film hired a lot of actors from Irish theaters, including Barry Fitzgerald’s brother, Arthur Shields, as well as many extras from the countryside.