Hollywood Irish. John Ford, Abbey Actor and the Irish Revival in Hollywood

By: Adrian Frazier

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 3 customer ratings
(3 customer reviews)


‘I have to say the book is an unalloyed pleasure to hold and to glance through – a sensual delight. It is an absolute credit to everyone involved. Paper, typeface, photos – the whole production is a glowing tribute to the art of the book itself and a wonderful reminder of why we ever fell in love with books in the first place. ‘ – Mike McCormac

In the course of a 1935 USA Abbey Theatre tour of the plays of Sean O’Casey and others, an extensive collaboration was launched between director John Ford (‘My real name is Sean Martin Aloysius O’Feeney’), fresh from shooting O’Flaherty’s The Informer, and star players such as Sara Allgood, Barry Fitzgerald and his brother Arthur Shields.

Tempted by movie contracts, these great stage actors resettled in Hollywood and became members of what was informally called Ford’s ‘stock company’, appearing again and again in his key films such as The Long Way Home (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and The Quiet Man (1952).

Based on a hitherto-unknown cache of Shields family papers and memorabilia, Frazier traces the remarkable life stories of these actors in their migration from Dublin to California. He shows how signifying elements of the Irish Revival mutated from world theatre to global cinema, giving fresh readings to some of the great films of the era.

Richly illustrated, and driven by a sparkling narrative style, Hollywood Irish brings depth and perspective to Ireland’s part in the fashioning of American identity.

ADRIAN FRAZIER, Professor of English at the National University of Ireland, Galway, is author of Behind the Scenes: Yeats, Horniman, and the Struggle for the Abbey Theatre (1990). His acclaimed biography George Moore, 1852-1933 was published in 2000.

Also available as an ebook

3 reviews for Hollywood Irish. John Ford, Abbey Actor and the Irish Revival in Hollywood

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Lilliput Press

    “A brilliant investigation of John Ford’s connections to the Ireland of his mother, a Feeney, that played out in his movies, pesonality and friendships. Dublin’s Abbey Theatre and it’s ensemble actors provides the main bridge for these affections as Ford befriended and hired a number of it’s members. The stories that made this history are refreshingly intimate and shed light on the developement of the stage irish identities we carry with us today in this country, the international reach of the Abbey Theatre as it traveled out to support itself and the workings of the Hollywood system during it’s Golden Era.
    Mr. Frazier has made the telling of this most interesting story a delight to read.” DUDLEY

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Lilliput Press

    “I enjoyed this well written book, that charted the connection between one of the greatest Hollywood directors, his love of Ireland and his close ties with The Abbey Theatre Dublin. Many of the Abbey actors Ford ‘discovered’ went on to create a career in Hollywood, a good read if you’re interested in this period of Hollywood history.” PETER MULLIGAN

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Lilliput Press

    “An in depth story of the Irish actors of the abbey theatre, dublin’s influence on the Hollywood of the first half of the 20th century, which includes a brief look at Irish history and behind the scenes views of John Ford Films such as The Quiet Man. The actors were all very much alive hen I first saw them in the cinema, this book brings them back to life once more, that’s why I have given his book a top rating. Thank you so much. Adrian frazier.” JOHN CLIFFORD ANDREWS

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Weight 1 kg

April 2010


234x156mm, 300pp