Maureen O’Hara: The Ultimate Streaming Guide

Surrounded by her family and with The Quiet Man soundtrack playing, Hollywood icon and indomitable Irish woman Maureen O’Hara passed away this weekend at the age of 95. Making her debut with one line in Kicking the Moon Around (1938), O’Hara would go on to conquer Hollywood and leave behind a vast and varied filmography. As an ingenue, she danced before the thralls of medieval Paris and duked it out with a tawdry-showgirl Lucille Ball. As a love interest, she had the likes of John Wayne, Tyrone Power, and Errol Flynn clamor for her, while slugging and swashbuckling the lot of ‘em. As wife and mother, she made us believe in the goodness of people as well as in Santa Claus. 

Being a muse to both Charles Laughton and John Ford, O’Hara captivated audiences with her evocative black cherry eyes and breath-taking beauty in black-and-white classics. As films began to embrace color, the Irish lass stood apart from her peers, leaping off-the-screen with her vibrant red hair and booming blush, and earned her title as the “Queen of Technicolor,” as well as the more-snickering moniker of “Pirate Queen.” Her roles ranged from the feisty to the flowery, to the fearsome to the feminine-weepy, and she even got a noir and two spy films under her belt.

In lieu of a longer reflection on her extraordinary life and career, here is a list of Maureen O’Hara’s films and where to stream them as well as clips where there aren’t full-length copies/rentals to be found and related snippets from her memoir, ‘Tis Herself (via her filmography wikipedia page). Let us celebrate her by watching, sharing, and enjoying these performances.

Kicking the Moon Around (1938)

Harry Richman was at Elstree and introduced me to the film’s director, Walter Forde. Forde asked me if I would deliver a line in the movie. I was not a cast member and do not consider Kicking the Moon Around part of my official filmography. I only agreed to deliver the line as a favor to Harry Richman for his having helped me with my screen test.”

My Irish Molly (1938)

Laughton arranged for me to make my first picture, a low budget musical called My Irish Molly. It’s the only picture that I made under my real name, Maureen FitzSimons. I was to play a young woman named Eiléen O’Shea who helps rescue a little orphan named Molly. Laughton wanted me to become more comfortable with both being on a movie set and being in front of the camera.”

Jamaica Inn (1939)

“My character was the innkeeper’s niece, the heroine who is torn between the love of her family and her love for a lawman in disguise.” Laughton decided that the actress’s name had to be changed since it was ‘too long for the marquee’ and gave her the choice between O’Mara and O’Hara. Since she rejected both he dismissed her protest and himself decided on O’Hara. O’Hara liked Hitchcock and wrote later that she “never experienced the strange feeling of detachment with Hitchcock that many other actors claimed to have felt while working with him.”

Streaming: YouTube, GooglePlay, Amazon Prime, SnagFilms, Archive.org, Big Five Glories

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

“We began filming out in the San Fernando Valley… unfortunately, Los Angeles was having the hottest summer in its history, and I knew from day one that it was going to be a physically demanding shoot, especially taxing on Laughton because of the heavy makeup and costume requirements for Quasimodo. When I saw Laughton for the first time made up as Quasimodo, I almost fell over. I took one look at him and gasped, “Good God, Charles. Is that really you?” He answered me with a wink and then limped off.”

Streaming: GooglePlay, Watch TCM (until October 31st)

A Bill of Divorcement (1940)

“A remake of the 1932 film. I was cast as Sydney Fairfield, a role played by Katharine Hepburn in the earlier George Cukor version. The screenplay was mediocre at best, and Farrow was nowhere near the caliber director Cukor was.”

Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)

“A comedy… I was cast as an aspiring ballerina who joins a dance troupe. Before filming started, the entire cast went right into dance classes. Pommer hired Ernst and Ginny Matray. My ballet sequences were far more difficult than the dancing I had done in Hunchback, and I struggled to get it right. Lucille [Ball] had a much easier time of it because she was a former Ziegfeld and Goldwyn girl and a much better dancer than I.”

Streaming: GooglePlay

They Met in Argentina (1941)

RKO‘s response to the Betty Grable hit Down Argentine Way. I knew it was going to be a stinker; terrible script, bad director, preposterous plot, forgettable music.”

How Green Was My Valley (1941)

“An artistic collaboration began (with John Ford) that would span twenty years and five feature films. My favorite shot in the film takes place outside the church after Angharad gets married. As I make my way down the steps to the carriage waiting below, the wind catches my veil and fans it out in a perfect circle all the way around my face. Then it floats straight up above my head and points to the heavens. It’s breathtaking.”

Streaming: YouTube, GooglePlay

To the Shores of Tripoli (1942)

“The first film I made with John Payne and also the first film I made in Technicolor. Bruce Humberstone [directed], or Lucky Stumblebum to those who couldn’t understand why the quality of his pictures never seemed to match their impressive box-office receipts.”

Ten Gentlemen from West Point (1942)

“A forgettable film mostly because John Payne dropped out… Zanuck recast the role with George Montgomery. I found him positively loathsome.”

The Black Swan (1942)

“It had everything you could want in a lavish pirate picture: a magnificent ship with thundering cannons; a dashing hero battling menacing villains (Tyrone Power, Laird Cregar, and Anthony Quinn); sword fights; fabulous costumes… working with Ty Power was exciting. In those days, he was the biggest romantic swashbuckler in the world. But what I loved most about working with Ty Power was his wicked sense of humor.”

Streaming: YouTube

Immortal Sergeant (1943)

“The studio publicized the love scene between O’Hara and Henry Fonda as Hank’s last screen kiss before going to war.”

This Land Is Mine (1943)

Streaming: GooglePlay

The Fallen Sparrow (1943)

“With John Garfield, (my shortest leading man, an outspoken Communist and a real sweetheart)… ”

Buffalo Bill (1944)

“I didn’t feel Joel McCrea was tough enough to play the lead in a western. He was a very nice man, a good actor, but not rugged like Duke or Brian Keith. Critics mostly panned the film. I think the picture did so well with audiences because of its masterful use of Technicolor.”

The Spanish Main (1945)

“Pairing me with Paul Henreid, one of my more decorative roles.”

Streaming: Archive.org

Sentimental Journey (1946)

Sentimental Journey was every bit the smash hit that I thought it would be. It was a rip-your-heart-out tearjerker that reduced my agents and the toughest brass at Fox to mush when they saw it.”

Do You Love Me (1946)

“The musical Do You Love Me? was one of the worst pictures I ever made. Neither Dick Haymes nor Harry James could save it.”

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Sinbad, the Sailor (1947)

“Playing Shireen, the glamorous adventuress who helps Sinbad (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) find the hidden treasure of Alexander the Great. Ridiculous. The picture made a pot of money for RKO – action-adventures almost always did.”

Streaming: Archive.org, GooglePlay

The Homestretch (1947)

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

“I have been mother to almost forty children in movies, but I always had a special place in my heart for little Natalie. She always called me Mamma Maureen and I called her Natasha… when Natalie and I shot the scenes in Macy’s, we had to do them at night because the store was full of people doing their Christmas shopping during the day. Natalie loved this because it meant she was allowed to stay up late. I really enjoyed this time with Natalie. We loved to walk through the quiet, closed store and look at all the toys and girls’ dresses and shoes. The day she died, I cried shamelessly.”

Streaming: GooglePlay

The Foxes of Harrow (1947)

“With Rex Harrison and Victor McLaglen at 20th Century-Fox. Harrison and I disliked each other from the outset. Hollywood might have called him the greatest perfectionist among actors, but I found him to be rude, vulgar, and arrogant.”

Sitting Pretty (1948)

“With Robert Young… it made a fortune, even winning the Box Office Award for that year.”

Streaming: GooglePlay

A Woman’s Secret (1949)

“I made no attempt to keep it a secret that I thought the story stank. Dore Schary reminded me that I still had a one-picture-a-year obligation to RKO… I starred opposite Melvyn Douglas as a frustrated talent manager who shoots her star client in a jealous rage. Schary was in love with Gloria Grahame. And to provide more real-life drama, Gloria Grahame was also in a relationship with director Nicholas Ray, and was pregnant.”

Streaming: Warner Archive

The Forbidden Street (1949)

“Shot in London. The only reasons for you to watch this picture today on television are to see Dana Andrews do a nice job in a dual role, or to watch the fine character actress Sybil Thorndike steal the picture.”

Streaming: YouTube

Father Was a Fullback (1949)

“A comedy stinkeroo that got more yawns than laughs.”

Streaming: YouTube

Bagdad (1949)

“An escapist adventure and my first picture with Universal. They called these tits and sand pictures. We shot the film on location in the Alabama Hills of Lone Pine, California.”

Comanche Territory (1950)

“The film in which I mastered the American bullwhip. By the time the picture was over, I could snap a cigarette out of someone’s mouth.”

Tripoli (1950)

“To be fair, Will [Price, O’Hara’s second husband] did a credible job of directing the picture. He managed to stay sober during the production.”

Streaming: YouTube, Amazon Prime

Rio Grande (1950)

“The final installment of John Ford’s cavalry trilogy, based on three short stories by James Warner Bellah that Ford had read in the Saturday Evening Post.” “From our very first scenes together, working with John Wayne was comfortable for me.”

Streaming: GooglePlay

Flame of Araby (1951)

“Cast as a Tunisian princess – I wasn’t up to making another lousy picture and wanted to save myself for a great performance in The Quiet Man. But Universal made their intentions known right away: Make the movie or be suspended. I had no choice but to make it.”

At Sword’s Point (1952)

“The plot of the movie is a little hard to swallow, but it was fun as hell. The sons of the original Musketeers ride to the rescue, with just one exception. I play Claire, the daughter of Athos. Cornel Wilde was cast as my leading man, (D’Artagnan). I trained rigorously for six weeks with Fred Cavens and his son to perfect my stunt sequences. Fred Cavens was an outstanding Belgian military fencing master and had trained all the great swashbucklers in Hollywood. Physically, I’ve never worked harder for a role.”

Streaming: GooglePlay

Kangaroo (1952)

“The director Lewis Milestone rewrote Martin Berkeley’s story. He destroyed a good, straightforward western. Though I hated every minute of the work, I absolutely loved Australia and the Australian people… most of the film was shot in the desert near Port Augusta.”

Streaming: YouTube

The Quiet Man (1952)

“I have often said that The Quiet Man is my personal favourite of all the pictures I have made. It is the one I am most proud of, and I tend to be very protective of it. I loved Mary Kate Danaher. I loved the hell and fire in her. As I readied to begin playing her, I believed that my most important scene in the picture was when Mary Kate is in the field herding the sheep and Sean Thornton sees her for the very first time. It’s a moment captured in time, and it’s love at first sight. I felt very strongly that if the audience believed it was love at first sight, then we would have lightning in a bottle. But if they didn’t, we would have just another lovely romantic comedy on our hands. The scene comes off beautifully.”

Streaming: YouTube, GooglePlay, Archive.org

Against All Flags (1952)

“I respected [co-star Errol Flynn] professionally and was quite fond of him personally. Of course there was one glaring inconsistency with his professionalism. Errol also drank on the set, something I greatly disliked. You couldn’t stop him; Errol did whatever he liked. If the director prohibited alcohol on the set, then Errol would inject oranges with booze and eat them during breaks.”

The Redhead from Wyoming (1953)

“Another western stinkeroo for Universal. It was disappointing to be working on such a lousy picture while I was receiving praise for such a highly regarded piece of filmmaking (The Quiet Man).”

Streaming: YouTube

War Arrow (1953)

“A second picture with Jeff Chandler. Jeff was a real sweetheart, but acting with him was like acting with a broomstick.”

Malaga a.k.a. Fire Over Africa (1954)

The Long Gray Line (1955)

“This was the fourth picture I’d made with John Ford, and it was by far the most difficult.”

Streaming: GooglePlay

The Magnificent Matador (1955)

“Critics disliked it, and found it dull.”

Lady Godiva of Coventry (1955)

“I was not in the nude, as the studio claimed to the press. I wore a full-length body leotard and underwear that was concealed by my long tresses. An unexpected pleasure on the film was watching a promising young actor named Clint Eastwood cut his teeth on it.”

Streaming: YouTube

Lisbon (1956)

“A Republic melodrama, full of mystery, international intrigue, and murder. For the first time in my career I got to play the villain, and Bette Davis was right – bitches are fun to play.”

Everything But the Truth (1956)

“A lousy comedy for Universal. John Forsythe was wonderful to work with, though.”

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The Wings of Eagles (1957)

“The film was the true story of an old friend of John Ford, Frank Spig Wead, a naval aviator who later became a Hollywood screenwriter after breaking his back in a nasty fall… I never worked with John Ford again.”

Our Man in Havana (1959)

“When we arrived in Havana on April 15, 1959, Cuba was a country experiencing revolutionary change. Only four months before , Fidel Castro and his supporters had toppled Fulgencio BatistaChe Guevara was often at the Capri Hotel. Che would talk about Ireland and all the guerilla warfare that had taken place there. He knew every battle in Ireland and all of its history. And I finally asked, “Che, you know so much about Ireland and talk constantly about it. How do you know so much?” He said, “Well, my grandmother’s name was Lynch and I learned everything I know about Ireland at her knee.” He was Che Guevara Lynch! That famous cap he wore was an Irish rebel’s cap. I spent a great deal of time with Che Guevara while I was in Havana. Today he is a symbol for freedom fighters wherever they are in the world and I think he is a good one.”

Streaming: GooglePlay

The Deadly Companions (1961)

“About a drifter running from his past. Sam Peckinpah‘s feature-film debut… Peckinpah later reached icon status as a great director of westerns, but I thought he was just awful. I found him to be one of the strangest and most objectionable people I had ever worked with.”

Streaming: YouTube, AmazonPrime

The Parent Trap (1961)

The Parent Trap wouldn’t have been as special without the remarkable performances by Hayley Mills. I use the plural here because she really did bring two different girls to life in the movie. Sharon and Susan were so believable that I’d sometimes forget myself and look for the other one when Hayley and I were standing around the set.”

Streaming: GooglePlay

Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962)

“A simple story about a man and his wife who take a family vacation with their children and grandchildren in an old dilapidated house on the beach… I discovered that in a Jimmy Stewart picture, every scene revolves around Jimmy Stewart. I was never allowed to really play out a single scene in the picture. He was a remarkable actor, but not a generous one.”

Streaming: GooglePlay

Spencer’s Mountain (1963)

“On location in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The picture is loosely based on the novel by Earl Hamner, Jr. about his life growing up in poverty on Spencer’s Mountain, under the roof of God-fearing parents. Henry Fonda told me that he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until Marlon Brando‘s mother persuaded him to try his hand at acting. Fonda was the gifted, tough, and classy kind of leading man that I most enjoyed working with.”

McLintock! (1963)

“There are so many great scenes in the picture. Audiences always rave about the fight sequence that takes place at the mine dump and ends in the mud. A total of forty-two cast members took part in the brawl, and nearly all of us ended up sliding down the bank into the mud pit below. The most dangerous stunt I perform in the picture was the fall from the ladder into the water trough.”

Streaming: YouTube, HuluPlus, Archive.org, Big Five Glories

The Battle of the Villa Fiorita (1965)

“Late April 1964, to Italy to make the film with Rossano Brazzi. I began the picture with high hopes, but the picture quickly turned into a disaster. Rossano Brazzi wasn’t right for the part.”

The Rare Breed (1966)

Streaming: YouTube

How Do I Love Thee? (1970)

“With Jackie Gleason. It was a terrible film. The script was awful, and the director couldn’t fix it. I liked Gleason very much. He was a very kind and funny man, but he drank too much.”

Big Jake (1971)

“We shot the picture in October 1970, in Durango, Mexico. Reuniting Duke (John Wayne) and me in our last picture together.”

Streaming: YouTube, Archive.org

Only the Lonely (1991)

John Candy was one of my all-time favorite leading men. He was pleasant and courteous. The depth of John Candy’s talent did surprise me. I didn’t expect it to be so great. It didn’t take long for me to see that he was not only a comedic genius but an actor with an extraordinary dramatic talent. He reminded me a great deal of Charles Laughton.”

Streaming: Netflix

About Diana Drumm 12 Articles

Diana Drumm is a freelance writer and editor based outside of Baltimore, Maryland. Along with The Black Maria, she writes for The Playlist and Sound on Sight. A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and the University of St Andrews, her “expertise” includes British Cinema and Classic Hollywood. She was fortunate enough to meet and interview Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz, albeit blushing and clumsily throughout, at the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival. Follow Diana on Twitter at @DianaDDrumm.

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