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“Almost every letter mentions my ‘virile’ nose and most women ask for profile photographs. The film’s action involves Duke’s murder of a policeman during a holdup, his subsequent framing of an innocent local boy (Ed Kelly), and the efforts of the boy’s sister (Sheila Ryan) to prove his innocence. We were just talking like this, like you and me are. ” Without another word, Duke shoots Chubb, unceremoniously shoves his body to the floor, and steals his cache of money.As the sadistic gunman, Ireland offered a vivid portrayal; he is especially memorable in a scene where he asks his boss, Chubb, in a conversational tone, “Did I ever tell you about the guy I killed in Detroit? After the release of (1948), starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift.did not result in better screen roles for Ireland, his association with the film did have an immediate impact on his personal life.During shooting of the feature, Ireland began dating co-star Joanne Dru, whom he had first met when both appeared in .
But Ireland’s son, John, later refuted this theory, stating that the actor quit the picture following a dispute with his agent Charlie Feldman. who, as it turned out, was partnered with Hawks in the company making the film.
Following a whirlwind romance, the couple married on August 7, 1949 (just weeks after Dru’s ex-husband, crooner Dick Haymes, wed the ex-spouse of Errol Flynn).
The wedding took place in the Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, with director John Ford’s daughter, Barbara, serving as maid of honor, and actors Gregory Peck and Mel Ferrer standing up for Ireland.
“They told me I was being just another temperamental actor, that I should be ashamed of myself,” Ireland told columnist Darr Smith.
“Of course this refers to the fact that the studio owns us, body, soul, and temperament.” Charging that the studio was “maliciously conspiring” to deprive him of the opportunity to become a star, Ireland petitioned the Superior Court to release him from his contract, and later agreed to give the studio 25 percent of his gross earnings for the next five years.