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I Just Watched...

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Cell 2455, Death Row (1955)  -  6/10

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Crime drama based on a best-selling autobiography from death row inmate Caryl Chessman. William Campbell stars as a death row inmate who reflects on his past misdeeds while awaiting his date with the executioner. Also featuring Kathryn Grant, Marian Carr, R. Wright Campbell, Vince Edwards, Harvey Stephens, Bart Braverman, Jonathan Haze, Kerwin Mathews, Joe Turkel, and Buck Kartalian. Campbell has a field day with the lead role, angry at the world and cocky to boot. This isn't anything I'd call a classic, but crime picture fans could do worse.

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"The Westerner" - William Wyler - 1940 -

starring Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Doris Davenport, Forest Tucker, Fred Stone -

Surprisingly entertaining rendition of the Judge Roy Bean legend which builds up his (fictional) relationship with a wandering cowboy who is almost killed by the lawlessness of the Judge's so-called court -

although the film does skirt the homosexuality of the relationship, it does spend a considerable amount of time in trying to establish a relationship between two unlikely "friends" -

but Brennan is clearly more interested in Cooper than Cooper is in Brennan -

there is a bed scene between the two of them, which makes Brennan's intentions clear -

but Cooper manages to disentangle himself from "the love clutch" -

Brennan is surprisingly entertaining as a man who made his own rules - including "man love" -

Cooper is young and charming in an early role -

the director, Wyler, gave him a very generous showcase -

I don't know the female lead, Doris Davenport, but she was a great gal for Cooper -

the climatic fire in which the Judge is again dispensing his own brand of justice is very, very effective -

and the end in which Cooper arranges for Brennan to meet the love of his life, Lily Langtry, is a sad ending to a relationship that wasn't in the cards -

that Cooper was "a prize" is clearly not lost on Judge Roy Bean, who probably would have married him in his wildly lawless court, where he reigned supreme -  

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   MV5BMDRjMWQzZGItZjI4ZC00ZGQ3LWEyMjAtYzNj

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3 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

You know I believe that "Danny Boy" was written after the turn of the century, would be anachronistic during the building of the Union Pacific.

Well, DeMille was always ahead of his time.

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Cell 2455, Death Row (1955)  -  6/10

514dWUK-TqL._SY445_.jpg

Crime drama based on a best-selling autobiography from death row inmate Caryl Chessman. William Campbell stars as a death row inmate who reflects on his past misdeeds while awaiting his date with the executioner. Also featuring Kathryn Grant, Marian Carr, R. Wright Campbell, Vince Edwards, Harvey Stephens, Bart Braverman, Jonathan Haze, Kerwin Mathews, Joe Turkel, and Buck Kartalian. Campbell has a field day with the lead role, angry at the world and cocky to boot. This isn't anything I'd call a classic, but crime picture fans could do worse.

My memory is not quite clear on this, but I believe this film was made while the real Chessman was on death row awaiting an appeal. Campbell was always good at playing sleazeballs.

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1 hour ago, rayban said:

"The Westerner" - William Wyler - 1940 -

Cooper is young and charming in an early role -

 

Exactly. Of all his films I've seen, this is the one where he looks the best. Incredibly good-looking guy in 1940.

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The Time Machine (1960)

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My father took me to see this film when it was released. It remains one of my favorites, almost on a par with Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959). Both films address the 19th Century British romantic fascination with faraway places, either in time or space. (The latter film is much better than Verne's novel, I think.)

One thing struck me today, whilst watching The Time Machine, which I have seen many times. Rod Taylor (as H. George Welles) undertakes his journey through time on December 31, 1899, the same day that Mae West, Charles Butterworth, Charles Winninger, and Walter Catlett are enjoying New Year's Eve in NYC in my favorite Mae West movie, Every Day's a Holiday. If Rod Taylor had been able to travel sideways, instead of forward, he might have come upon this scene, which probably would have been more fun (though arguably less useful) than meeting up with the Eloi and the Morlocks.

1937_Ev-Day-Holiday_MW_C_Winninger_et-al

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1 hour ago, scsu1975 said:

Exactly. Of all his films I've seen, this is the one where he looks the best. Incredibly good-looking guy in 1940.

When he was young Gary Cooper was a very good looking guy and, at times, incredibly charming. The Westerner is ample proof of that, but so, too, is Desire, with Dietrich, made a few years before. Of his later films William Wyler, who had directed The Westerner, helped to bring out the little boy charm in him once again (think of those buggy ride races) in Friendly Persuasion.

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4 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

You know I believe that "Danny Boy" was written after the turn of the century, would be anachronistic during the building of the Union Pacific.

Actually, there is another possibility. Perhaps those guys working on the railroad smoked grass. From what I understand, marijuana allows you to hear music from the future.

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I delved once more into the stagnant waters of 70's made-for-television fare:

The Stranger (1973)  -  4/10

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Failed pilot for a series that features Glenn Corbett as an astronaut who crashes into a parallel Earth-like planet named Terra. Thankfully they all speak American-accented English, drive American-style cars, and use the English alphabet in their writing. Unthankfully, they are dominated by a fascist, Big Brother-style government known as the First Order. Glenn's existence would upset the status quo, so First Order security chief Cameron Mitchell decides Corbett must die. Also featuring Sharon Acker, Lew Ayres, Tim O'Connor, George Coulouris, H.M. Winant, Steve Franken, Virginia Gregg, and Dean Jagger. A dumb concept made worse by bad writing, the only highlight was a chase scene involving some very dangerous stunt flying by helicopter, weaving in and out of a forest at very low altitude. 

 

Terror on the Beach (1973)  -  4/10

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It's Attack of the Dirty Hippies, as Duel meets Deliverance meets the Manson family. Dennis Weaver and family (Estelle Parsons, Kristoffer Tabori, Susan Dey) head out for a quiet weekend camping on a secluded beach, but are instead menaced by a group of smelly hippies driving dune buggies and an old fire truck. You know, like hippies do. Featuring Scott Hylands, Michael Christian, Henry Olek, and Roberta Collins as the hippies. Derivative and silly, with overwrought performances and a laughable finale.

 

You'll Never See Me Again (1973)  -  6/10

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Passable mystery based on a Cornell Woolrich story. David Hartman stars as a husband whose wife disappears after they get into a fight. As his concern grows, he becomes the primary suspect in her disappearance. Also featuring Jane Wyatt, Ralph Meeker, Joseph Campanella, Jess Walton, George Murdock, and Bo Svenson. Hartman's hangdog look fits with the role, as does his large size, with his character having occasional fits of frightening anger, making his guilt seem possible. I didn't immediately figure out the mystery, so that was a big plus. 

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scsu1975, by "smoked grass" and the reference to "marijuana," surely you meant to say "cannabis." Those other words, like the 1960s slang term "pot," simply don't exist any more and are as un-PC as racial and ethnic slurs. "Smoked grass" = "responsibly consumed cannabis." Or, as they used to say on Laugh-In, "That's what they'd like you to believe."

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1 hour ago, scsu1975 said:

Actually, there is another possibility. Perhaps those guys working on the railroad smoked grass. From what I understand, marijuana allows you to hear music from the future.

But instead, only makes you listen to Creedence Clearwater.

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*puff* That's funny, I don't hear anything. *puff* 😀

I'm not a fan of Westerns, but I stayed up until 3 am to watch The Naked Spur (1953) starring James Stewart and Robert Ryan. Beautifully photographed, and the story had me spellbound. The Technicolor scenery alone deserved an Oscar, but amazingly the film received only one nomination, for best original screenplay. It was fun to see Millard Mitchell as Stewart's sidekick, a grizzled white-bearded prospector, only a year after he played the studio head B.F. Simpson in Singin' in the Rain.

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"Hacksaw Ridge" (2016) The True Story of Desmond Doss: the Medal of Honor Winner Who Never Fired a Shot.  Not all heroes carries guns.  Truely admire his convictions!

Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss

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President Harry Truman presenting Desmond Doss with the Medal of Honor on Oct. 12, 1945

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Death Wish (1974) The Original Vigilante Noir

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Shootout on the Broadway-Seventh Avenue Express

I had left New York City and was living for two years in Montana when Death Wish came out.

Ten years later in a life imitates art incident on December 22, 1984, three days before Christmas, Bernhard Goetz gave four teenagers, Barry Allen, Troy Canty, Darrell Cabey and James Ramseur lead Christmas presents on a NYC Broadway–Seventh Avenue Downtown No. 2 Train Express. These four punks each with previous arrest records were on their way to rob a Playland or Fascination Video Arcade in downtown Manhattan.

The train of  R22 subway cars pulls into 14th Street Station and squeals to a stop. People get off. About fifteen or twenty stay on board car number 7657, it was the seventh car of a ten car train.

At 14th Street Bernie Goetz gets on through the rearmost sliding door. He crosses the aisle and takes a seat on the long bench facing the same door. Canty was laying down on the bench alongside the right side of the same door. Allen was seated on the short bench on the other side of the same door. Ramseur and Cabey were on the same side of the train as Bernie right of the door next to the conductors cab.

As the the doors whooshed shut, the train pulls out increasing its speed on the express track heading towards the next stop at Chambers Street. The train passes local stations Christopher and Houston. Somewhere near Canal Street, Canty asks Bernie 'How you doing?" Bernie responds "Fine."

Then the four men give signals to each other and Canty and Allen get up and go to the left of Bernie blocking him off from the other passengers on the train. Canty then demanded "Give me five dollars!"

"I'll give ya five!"

Gotez stands up pulls a Smith & Wesson Model 38. An aluminum-framed, carbon steel cylinder and barreled, 5-shot revolver loaded with 38 Specials. He fires four quick shots. The first shot hits Canty in the chest, shot two gets Allen in the back as he's trying to get away from that crazy mother ****. Shot three goes through Ramseur's arm and into his side. The fourth shot missed Cabey standing in the corner by the conductors cab. It deflects off the wall. Cabey sits down. Gotez pauses, looks over the carnage sees that Cabey was still functioning either tells him tells him or thinks to himself,  "You seem to be all right, here's another," and shoots him with his last shot.

The rest of the passengers, terrified, knock over two women and run to the end of the car and through the connecting doors between. Train stops in the tunnel. The two women on the floor of the car were immobilized by fear. Goetz walks over to them to see if they were OK.  The conductor arrives and Goetz tells him that "They tried to rob me."  The conductor asks Goetz if he is a police officer. Goetz tells him no. Gotez then jumps to the tracks and runs South along the tunnel to Chambers Street. He heads up to the sidewalk and hurries for home. There, he packs a bag rents a car and splits for Bennington. Vermont. He gets rid of the gun, burns his blue jacket, he drives around New England hiding out in dive motels and paying cash.

On December 29, Goetz calls his neighbor, Myra Friedman. She tells him the police are looking for him. He tells Myra his side of the story.

"Myra, in a situation like this, your mind, you're in a combat situation. Your mind is functioning. You're not thinking in a normal way. Your memory isn't even working normally. You are so hyped up. Your vision actually changes. Your field of view changes. Your capabilities change. What you are capable of changes. You are under adrenaline, a drug called adrenaline. And you respond very quickly, and you think very quickly. That's all. ... You think! You think, you analyze, and you act. And in any situation, you just have to think more quickly than your opposition. That's all. You know. Speed is very important."

Goetz hits the city on December 30th. He returns the rental, picks up some clothes, rents another car and heads  appropriately to Concord, New "Live Free or Die" Hampshire to give himself up.

Goetz was charged with attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment, and several firearms offenses. A jury found him not guilty of all charges except for one count of carrying an unlicensed firearm. Goetz served eight months of a one-year sentence.

"Bernhard Goetz said that three years earlier in 1981, while transporting electronic equipment, he was attacked in the Canal Street subway station by three youths in an attempted robbery.The attackers smashed Goetz into a plate-glass door and threw him to the ground, permanently injuring his chest and knee.  Goetz assisted an off-duty officer in arresting one of them; the other two attackers escaped. Goetz was angered when the arrested attacker spent less than half the time in the police station spent by Goetz himself, and he was angered further when this attacker was charged only with criminal mischief for ripping Goetz's jacket.  Goetz subsequently applied for a permit to carry a concealed handgun, on the basis of routinely carrying valuable equipment and large sums of cash, but his application was denied for insufficient need. He bought a 5-shot .38-caliber revolver during a trip to Florida.

The incident sparked a nationwide debate on race and crime in major cities, the legal limits of self-defense, and the extent to which the citizenry could rely on the police to secure their safety. Goetz, dubbed the "Subway Vigilante" by the New York press, came to symbolize New Yorkers' frustrations with the high crime rates of the 1980s. He was both praised and vilified in the media and public opinion. The incident has also been cited as a contributing factor to the groundswell movement against urban crime and disorder, and the successful National Rifle Association campaigns to loosen restrictions on the concealed carrying of firearms. (1984 New York City Subway shooting - Wikipedia)


So obviously you got to ask was Bernie Goetz influenced by Death Wish?

Directed by Michael Winner who directed two of the great Charles Bronson post Once Upon A Time In The West Westerns,/ Lawman (1971), and Chato's Land (1972). Death Wish was based on the novel Death Sentence by Brian Garfield, the screenplay was written by Wendell Mayes, Gerald Wilson (uncredited) , and Michael Winner (uncredited).

Cinematography was by Arthur J. Ornitz known for The Pusher (1960), Rod Serling's Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962), and Serpico (1973). The Music was by Herbie Hancock best known as a piano player, jazz star, and a composer, Round Midnight (1986).

The film stars 1950's noir vet Charles Bronson (The People Against O'Hara (1951), The Mob(1951), Crime Wave (1953), Big House, U.S.A. (1955) and Man with a Camera TV Series (1958–1960)) as Paul Kersey, Hope Lange (Bus Stop (1956)) as Joanna Kersey, Kathleen Tolan as Carol Toby, Vincent Gardenia (Cop Hater (1958), Murder, Inc. (1960), Mad Dog Coll (1961), Moonstruck (1987)) as NYPD Lt. Frank Ochoa, William Redfield as Samuel "Sam" Kreutzer, Steven Keats as Jack Toby, Stuart Margolin (Kelly's Heroes (1970), The Rockford Files TV Series (1974–1980)) as Ames Jainchill, Jeff Goldblum as "Jughead" Freak #1, Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck (1987)) as Cop at the precinct, and 1974 Manhattan.


Of course the film was panned by many critics because of it showing vigilantism in a good light. Author Garfield was so disappointed in the 1974 film adaption that he wrote the sequel Death Sentence the following year.

Nice New York City locations, with a controversial and interesting story 7/10  

Screenshots and full review in Film Noir/Gangster pages

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1 hour ago, cigarjoe said:

So obviously you got to ask was Bernie Goetz influenced by Death Wish?

Dunno. Never saw it. Should I?

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I just watched LORENA (2019) on amazon prime.

it is an EXTENSIVE FOUR PART (!) FOUR HOUR (!!) doc about the LORENA BOBBITT scandal of 1993(ish) that I watched because it was executive produced by JORDAN PEELE, who is the only person making movies and shows these days who, if their name is attached, I am automatically interested.

(that said, I STILL haven't seen GET OUT!)

I didn't think I'd watch the whole damn thing, but damned if I didn't watch the whole damn thing and I recommend it even.

It's everything a documentary is supposed to be: it doesn't so much draw a line from the present state of our lives to the past so much as it leaves the line out in plain, open site for anyone who isn't deaf, dumb, and blind to draw all by themselves. 

 

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4 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

Dunno. Never saw it. Should I?

DEATH WISH IV: THE CRACKDOWN is the one I recommend.

It is one of the funniest comedies of the early nineties.

"I'm makin' a sandwich."

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

A clever, insightful drama, with darkly comic overtones, blessed with a wonderful screenplay by director Martin McDonagh and honest performances by a flawless cast.

Frances McDormand gives a towering performance as a woman bitter over the unresolved cold case murder-rape of her daughter who rents three billboards outside of town to try to shame the authorities involved, revive interest in the case and, perhaps, even get it resolved. Woody Harrelson is the town sheriff whose name appears on one of the billboards. He tries to reason with McDormand, explaining that he has done all he can to try to find the culprit, while Sam Rockwell is his immature, violence prone mama's boy deputy who knows more about impulsiveness than he does reasoning.

But this is really a film about cause and effect, rather than crime resolution, and the screenplay takes the viewer down unexpected paths when it comes to the complexity of human relations. Not everybody is all bad and not everyone is all good, and some people can even show an unexpected capacity to change, for the better. There will be a collaboration between two of the key characters in this film that I doubt any audience members saw coming in the first half of the film and, incredibly, that meeting of minds seems honest and real.

McDormand's angry mother (her anger representing the anger we all feel over the unfairness of life, at times) will be rigid and, yes, even a little harsh (a scene in which she is unbending after the town sheriff tells her he is dying of cancer) but she will also show cracks in that stone face ("Oh, baby" she says in sympathy when the sheriff at one point unexpectedly coughs up blood).

Woody Harrelson's sheriff is a decent man who, as it turns out, secretly respects McDormand for her stand. He tries to act good natured and philosophically accepting about his fatal disease but the director also gives Harrelson a close up when he is alone to show us the fear in his eyes. It's a touching, affecting performance.

Then there's Sam Rockwell, marvelous in the role of the racist deputy so easy to despise, but there will be gradual changes to a characterization of greater depth than you might expect.

There are other performances in the film worthy of mention, too, such as Peter Dinklage as the town dwarf who hopes to date McDormand (she has no such desires herself) and will be there to assist her on a number of occasions, a key one, in particular. He's predictably the town joke to some but Dinklage is allowed to show us the loyalty and decency that lies within his character.

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri's trip down unexpected human pathways makes that trip a worthwhile one. And the film ends with an element of hope for tortured, angry beings lashing out at life, even if things are not resolved quite as they would have wanted. They may discover something else on life's bumpy road, simply how to get along with others.

14.49-Screen-1_.jpg

3.5 out of 4

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8 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Failed pilot for a series that features Glenn Corbett as an astronaut who crashes into a parallel Earth-like planet named Terra.

You reminded me for some reason of the very short-lived series Otherworld.

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46 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

A clever, insightful drama, with darkly comic overtones, blessed with a wonderful screenplay by director Martin McDonagh and honest performances by a flawless cast.

Frances McDormand gives a towering performance as a woman bitter over the unresolved cold case murder-rape of her daughter who rents three billboards outside of town to try to shame the authorities involved, revive interest in the case and, perhaps, even get it resolved. Woody Harrelson is the town sheriff whose name appears on one of the billboards. He tries to reason with McDormand, explaining that he has done all he can to try to find the culprit, while Sam Rockwell is his immature, violence prone mama's boy deputy who knows more about impulsiveness than he does reasoning.

But this is really a film about cause and effect, rather than crime resolution, and the screenplay takes the viewer down unexpected paths when it comes to the complexity of human relations. Not everybody is all bad and not everyone is all good, and some people can even show an unexpected capacity to change, for the better. There will be a collaboration between two of the key characters in this film that I doubt any audience members saw coming in the first half of the film and, incredibly, that meeting of minds seems honest and real.

McDormand's angry mother (her anger representing the anger we all feel over the unfairness of life, at times) will be rigid and, yes, even a little harsh (a scene in which she is unbending after the town sheriff tells her he is dying of cancer) but she will also show cracks in that stone face ("Oh, baby" she says in sympathy when the sheriff at one point unexpectedly coughs up blood).

Woody Harrelson's sheriff is a decent man who, as it turns out, secretly respects McDormand for her stand. He tries to act good natured and philosophically accepting about his fatal disease but the director also gives Harrelson a close up when he is alone to show us the fear in his eyes. It's a touching, affecting performance.

Then there's Sam Rockwell, marvelous in the role of the racist deputy so easy to despise, but there will be gradual changes to a characterization of greater depth than you might expect.

There are other performances in the film worthy of mention, too, such as Peter Dinklage as the town dwarf who hopes to date McDormand (she has no such desires herself) and will be there to assist her on a number of occasions, a key one, in particular. He's predictably the town joke to some but Dinklage is allowed to show us the loyalty and decency that lies within his character.

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri's trip down unexpected human pathways makes that trip a worthwhile one. And the film ends with an element of hope for tortured, angry beings lashing out at life, even if things are not resolved quite as they would have wanted. They may discover something else on life's bumpy road, simply how to get along with others.

14.49-Screen-1_.jpg

3.5 out of 4

A superb film, I hope that it made money.

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12 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

Exactly. Of all his films I've seen, this is the one where he looks the best. Incredibly good-looking guy in 1940.

Like so many stars who lasted a long time, Gary Cooper the Younger seemed to be an almost entirely different actor.

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22 minutes ago, rayban said:

Like so many stars who lasted a long time, Gary Cooper the Younger seemed to be an almost entirely different actor.

I think he saw some **** in the war plus he had a “heart condition”

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I really do wish they had made LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON in 1936. It would’ve fit in perfectly with the time, even after the code, and 1936 Gary Cooper would’ve been *perfect* in the part

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30 minutes ago, rayban said:

Like so many stars who lasted a long time, Gary Cooper the Younger seemed to be an almost entirely different actor.

I love Cooper, always have.

At his peak as a performer, the early '40s, it's impossible to envision any other actor who could have been so effective in "common man" roles like The Westerner, Meet John Doe or Sergeant York. I have a few problems with the screenplay of Pride of the Yankees but in the film's final twenty minutes, Cooper is flawless as he demonstrates grace under pressure, possibly the most poignant acting of his career.

I see a lot of critics on these boards of Cooper and that's fine, everyone's entitled to their opinions.

But the stats of Cooper's career are impressive:

1. A 37 year film career, a majority of those as a major star

2. Still an "A" list actor at the time of his death, receiving top billing up to his final film

3. 18 times named one of the top ten box office stars of the year, only a small handful of actors having had more than that number

4. Five Oscar nominations, winning twice in 1941 and 1952

5. One of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, in 1939 named the highest paid person in America.

Gary Cooper was one of the most spectacularly successful actors in the history of the film industry.

And, while limited in range as an actor, he still performed in a variety of genres, ranging from adventures and westerns to comedies. Among his more noteworthy films: Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Beau Geste (1939), The Westerner (1940), Meet John Doe (1941), Sergeant York (1941), Ball of Fire (1941), Pride of the Yankees (1942), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), High Noon (1952), Friendly Persuasion (1956).

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The Cockleshell Heroes (1955)  -  6/10

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British WWII movie directed by and starring Jose Ferrer. He plays an unconventional officer in the Royal Marines who devises an audacious plan to have a small contingent of marines use 2-man canoes to quietly make their way down a river to the occupied port of Bordeaux, where they will then blow up as many German ships as possible. Ferrer's second-in-command (Trevor Howard) is a by-the-book soldier of the old guard who can't tolerate Ferrer's almost whimsical nature, leading to conflict. Also featuring Dora Bryan, Anthony Newley, Victor Maddern, David Lodge, Peter Arne, Percy Herbert, Karel Stepanek, and Christopher Lee. The tone of this one is all over the place (there was some behind-the-scenes turmoil, with producer Albert Broccoli bringing in another director to shoot additional humorous scenes, causing Ferrer to wall off the picture), and the parts don't come together as a whole. Christopher Lee has a brief role as a submarine commander. Singer Yana, a major star in Britain at the time, has an unbilled cameo as a uniformed gal singing a song in a pub. This movie was a major hit in the UK. Shot in CinemaScope.

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