The Quiet Man star John Wayne was known to do some of his own stuntwork over the course of his filmography. However, he allowed a stuntman to take over for some of the more physically intense sequences that would potentially leave the film without a star if things took a turn for the worse. Wayne did some of the stunts for The Quiet Man, including one of the movie’s most iconic scenes.
John Wayne switched to drama for ‘The Quiet Man’
Most audiences recognize Wayne for his accomplishments within the war and Western film genres. However, he very occasionally set foot away from what viewers expected from him, although it was only for specific circumstances. Ordinarily, the movie star knew how to throw quite the punch, resulting in plenty of available stuntwork.
Wayne made the switch to The Quiet Man, once again collaborating with director John Ford and actor Maureen O’Hara. First, they had to agree to make Rio Grande to get the necessary funding to make their passion project, which also gave the lead actors the opportunity to generate more chemistry with one another.
The story follows a retired boxer named Sean Thornton (Wayne), who returns back to the Irish village he was born in. While pursuing his family’s old home, he meets a fiery woman named Mary Kate Danaher (O’Hara), who he falls in love with.
John Wayne did some of his own fighting in ‘The Quiet Man’
According to the official Wayne Facebook page, he had a double who did plenty of work over the course of The Quiet Man. There is a lot less dangerous stuntwork here than in his other movies, but there are still some legendary scenes that set Hollywood history. Stuntman Chuck Roberson was his favorite stuntman, but he had another name attached to the project.
“For this film, it was Bill Maguire who doubled for Duke,” the Facebook page wrote. “Bill did most of the stunts for Duke in The Quiet Man except for the riding scenes and the main fight scene. Joe Mellotte was simply a stand-in for John Wayne in a few scenes.”
The post continued: “The riding scenes were doubled by Joe Fair. Terry Wilson and Bob Morgan were the stuntmen who took part in the climatic brawl, which was filmed in the studios. Patrick Ford (John Ford’s son) did the stunts for Victor McLaglen.”
He delivered one of his best performances as Sean Thornton
Wayne earned his first Oscar nomination for playing Sgt. John M. Stryker in 1949’s Sands of Iwo Jima. He got another Academy Award nomination for his work in 1960’s The Alamo, but it was in the Best Picture category. The movie star didn’t get his first, and only, win until he played Rooster Cogburn in 1969’s True Grit. It became one of his most legendary roles, as the eyepatch-wearing character was carried through pop culture.
However, Wayne truly demonstrated another side of him in The Quiet Man. He shared electric chemistry with O’Hara that continues to earn praise from his longtime fans. He’s explored dramatic storytelling with nuance in this collaboration with O’Hara and Ford.