Saturday 3 December 2016

Eoghan Harris: John Ford and the Abbey's Protestant Irish patriots

Published 03/06/2012 | 05:00

TO my mind, the most important talk at next week's star-studded John Ford symposium will be given by Professor Adrian Frazier. His brilliant book, Hollywood Irish, shows the links between Easter Rebellion, the Abbey Theatre, John Ford -- and the contribution of Irish Protestant actors to some of the greatest films of all time.

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Like most Irish people, I had assumed that John Ford's filmic links with Irish literature were somewhat erratic. Apart from the The Informer, I regarded the rest of his Irish work as somewhat "stage Irish". And I was not alone in having mixed feelings about The Quiet Man.

Frazier's book blew away these prejudices with the same finality as Clint Eastwood (another Ford admirer) dealing with bad elements in Dirty Harry. And while I respect Joseph McBride and Tag Gallagher's biographies of Ford, I feel that Frazier's book is more edged, elegant and economical in its insights, especially its Irish insights.

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