By Arthur Flynn
John Ford, the Irish-American director, was renowned both for westerns such as Stagecoach, The Searchers and The Man who shot Liberty Vallance as well as adaptations of 20th century American novels such as Grapes of Wrath. His career spanned 50 years in which he directed 140 films.
Ford always had a strong bond for his Irish heritage and always had a strong connection with Ireland. In the movie business he used any opportunity to film Irish projects, either in America or Ireland.
Several of his most successful films have strong Irish features including The Informer (1935) (for which he won his first Oscar), The Plough and the Stars (1936), The Quiet Man (1952) and Young Cassidy (1964).
One lesser known film directed by Ford, but successful in a smaller margin, was The Rising of the Moon. The film consisting of three short stories, all set in Ireland, was shot there in 1956 and released as a feature-length film. The film was also known as Three Leaves of Shamrock.
They stories were Majesty of the Law, based on the short story of that title by Frank O’Connor in Bones of Contention; A Minute’s Wait, based on a 1914 one-act comedy by Martin J. McHugh, and 1921, based on the play The Rising of the Moon by Lady Gregory.
Ford teamed up with a regular producer Michael Killanin for the film, distributed by Warner Brothers. As with all his productions he assembled a strong team headed by his main cinematographer Robert Krasker, music by Eamonn O’Gallagher and editing by Michael Gordon. The actor Tyrone Power served as narrator. The actress Ava Gardner was anxious to appear in the film but did not. The film was mainly shot on location in Counties Clare and Galway.