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Any Gary Cooper Fans?


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One actress I wish Coop had worked with who made the transition sensationally to talkies is his fellow Montanan, Myrna Loy. I think they would have made movie magic together. It's a shame, all those years working in the same town that they never did.

 

Miss G

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Coop and Carole did work together three years earlier in I TAKE THIS WOMAN, which I have not yet seen. Also, they each appear as uncredited "extras" in 1926's DICK TURPIN.

 

Hitchcock actually did direct Carole along with Robert Montgomery in the comedy, MR. AND MRS SMITH. They got along splendidly and played practical jokes on each other.

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I'm enjoying discovering Coop's silents and see how he evolved his acting style, while at the same time realizing how wonderfully inventive and creative the silent film directors could be.

 

For anyone who is interested in silents, here is an article about how they are still being screened today with live musical accompanyment....and Coopsgirl, read the last paragrah (#10) for a giggle.

 

http://www.metroactive.com/metro/02.28.07/silent-film-music-0709.html

 

Miss G

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That was a great article. It's funny how that woman thought she heard Coop speaking in Lilac Time. We know what he sounds like it as opposed to actors who were in silents only so I see how your mind could play tricks on you. One time on TCM Robert Osbourne was talking about Jezebel and he said somebody told him once they swore they saw a color version of that movie b/c they could see the red dress Bette Davis wears but there's no color version of that one.

 

I've only seen a few non-Gary Cooper silents (mostly horror movies like Nosferatu and Metropolis) but I have liked them all, especially Gary's. It's funny that he seems mostly the same in those silents as in later movies. I think he was perfect for the silent era even though he came in near the end of it. He's very expressive but also still natural so when you watch him you're not distracted by hammy overacting but he's expressive enough to get the emotion of the scene across. My mom and I were talking the other day when we were watching one of his silents about how happy audiences must have been when they realized he could talk too (he had such a nice voice) and wouldn't be one of the stars who just faded away b/c they couldn't transistion to talkies. I ordered 'It' with Clara Bow and Coop in a small role a couple of weeks ago and I should be getting it any day now. That one was so popular and the one that really catapulted her to major stardom so I'm really excited to see it.

 

If more people would give silents a chance I think they would like some of them. If it's a good movie with good actors you get sucked into it and don't really realize there's no dialogue. I watched a clip from the silent 1925 version of Ben-hur of the chariot race scene and it was so good that I could almost hear the sound of the horses and the crowd cheering (I guess like that woman who thought she could hear Coop talking during Lilac Time).

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So far, Cooper, Garbo and Chaplin are my favorite silent performers. I'd love to see Clara Bow's movies too. Here in New York at The Film Forum a few years ago they had a retrospective of her films. Alas, I did not go and I've regretted it ever since. She was hugely popular in her day, putting "The 'It' Girl" into the vernacular.

 

I also like the few German expressionist silents I've seen, too, like F.W. Murnau's SUNRISE. What a marvelous work of art that is.

 

One plus about silents is that they are universal---because there is no dialogue any country could import them and simply translate the titles. No wonder the cinema became such an instantaneous, world-wide phenomenon.

 

Miss G

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Murnau's films are cool. The Germans were very good at making films and Fritz Lang's Metropolis is a great example of that with all the cool special effects of buildings changing into monsters and robots changing into women so smoothly and seamlessly. They most definitely hold up incredibly well today. One of the characters in Metropolis is named Rotwang and that cracks me up everytime I think about it :) TCM is showing a lot of silents shorts and movies in the next three months and I'm excited to see them. Lots with Chaplin (I've never seen any of his movies I'm ashamed to admit), Harold Lloyd who was awesome, Lilian Gish and tons of other big stars from the silent era.

 

On a side note Fritz Lang directed Coop in Cloak and Dagger. Normally we just think of the actors who made the change to talkies but there were a lot of silent directors who did too like Lang, William Wellman, and Cecil De Mille (probably the most famous of the bunch) who was one of the earliest directors of the era once the movies moved to Hollywood during the early teens.

 

I found a great book at a Half Price book stores (a chain of used book stores in TX and you can find some great stuff there) about the first decade or so of Hollywood. Most movies were being made on the east coast until people began to realize the weather and climate in southern California would work better especially for filming outdoors so film crews and actors began to settle there.

 

Hollywood was originally a residential community and was very exclusive. It did have some tourist value though as it was filled with beautiful citrus groves and people would come to visit them and just enjoy the outdoor beauty. So one person set up a roadhouse which served alcohol for the tourists. Well this greatly upset the residents and they forced them to stop selling it b/c they didn't want the kind of people that was bringing in. Well that person had to make a living somehow so they turned the roadhouse into a boarding house and around this same time the film people from the east were scoping the area out and they took up residence there. So the residents plan backfired and they were soon a filming community.

 

It sounds like it was a wonderful time too b/c it was still somewhat innocent. They would only shoot during the day so production closed down in the late afternoon and the nights were free. The film crews and actors would have gatherings and parties at their houses as there were not many entertainment options yet unless you went into Los Angeles which was a pretty good drive back then. You could see the actors out in their front lawns working in their flower beds or just sitting out on their porch enjoying a nice evening as the paparazzi and stalkers weren't really an issue yet. There were some pics of Hollywood Blvd and it looked so different it was unbelievable. It just looks like a cute small town street with no traffic at all (I mean there's a pic of it without a single car in sight).

 

That era began to end though in 1921 when Fatty Arbuckle (one of the era's biggest stars) was charged with manslaughter and rape of a girl at a party he attended. He was aquitted but it was Hollywood's first real big scandal. Also with the development of Klieg lights, you could make the night as bright as the day so work days got longer. Working conditions became more harsh too as these lights were so bright that they would burn your eyes (they called it getting klieg eyes). It's hard to imagine that Hollywood was ever a rather small film community that was really laid back in a lot of ways when you see it now. It must have really been something though.

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Hey! Thanks very much for the photos! I have a copy of that top one, but this one is a much cleaner copy and I have been looking for a cleaner copy (and a larger one than the one I have) for some time - so that is great. And I don't think I have the second one - or at least not a clean version of it.

 

That top one though - I'm most grateful for that one as it's one I've used in the past - actually the first avatar I made of Gary Cooper is using that photo. Only as I said, not as good a copy. So this one especially will get used in my photoshop projects.

 

And MissG, I agree with you - this man reduces me to a squealing fangirl. It is really quite sad. There are only three actors who do that to me - Coop, Valentino, and Errol Flynn.

 

These guys were all just too breathtaking for words. :D

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Coopsgirl - if you are new to silents and have not seen a Valentino silent...you REALLY owe it to yourself.

 

Just have a cold shower handy. :P If you would like to try Valentino let me know and I can make recommendations or send you a film or two to get you started. :)

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I'm glad I picked those then since you needed better copies of them. They are two of my faves :) It may seem silly but I can't even look at that bottom one with the hat for very long at a time b/c he's just too dang good looking in it :P

 

There are a lot of men I find very attractive but only two guys that really get me; Gary Cooper and Brad Ausmus. Brad is the catcher for the Astros and I've met him a few times at fan events (got my pic taken with a couple of times and we have our arms around each other) and he just leaves me along with most every other woman in Houston weak at the knees. It's also quite a nice bonus that Gary was such a great actor and his movies are worth watching for more than just his pretty face ;)

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I just have to tell you, Pktrekgirl, I'm absolutely enthralled with the Errol Flynn autobiography! It's taking me so long to finish only because I have so little time but I become like one possessed once I delve into it---and I find myself just heart broken over his struggles and questionings about who he was and where he belonged. I just finished the chapter about his near suicide attempts. It sent cold chills down my spine. It's tragic a man with so much potential felt so worthless.

 

This is without a doubt the best autobiography I've ever read.

 

Miss G

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I haven't seen a lot of Flynn's movies but when I first saw him in Robin Hood when I was a kid I thought he was great and that's still one of my faves. From what I've heard it sounds like he did have a crazy life and that is very sad. It's sad for anybody but it just seems especially bad for people who were so loved by total strangers but couldn't find happiness in their personal lives with the people closest to them. It's easy to hooked on a book when you find a good subject. I'm nearly done with the Coop I've been reading and once I start it it's hard to put it down.

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Yes...that bottom one is very nice.

 

I prefer the top one...but if the bottom one were in color and you could see those blue eyes....good LORD I would never be able to STOP looking at that photo! :P So maybe it's a good thing it's in B&W. *lol*

 

Still, VERY fine photos. And I really appreciate them. Both will definitely be showing up in future projets.

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It took viewing TCM's 2005 documentary, The Adventures of Errol Flynn, to open my eyes to what an extraordinary actor and man he was. Before that, I just thought of him as most do, somewhat dismissively, as a great movie swashbuckler and all around playboy.

 

Of course, he was a playboy and a great swashie but so much more, too. The film clips revealed what I couldn't see before---he was a heck of an actor! And when I learned about the astonishing life he led before ever reaching Hollywood, then I was hooked.

 

He was an astute, witty, cynical, poetic and deeply introspective man who was--here is the kicker---far too sensitive for the public life he led. As contradictory as it sounds, that is what he was, a man of extreme contradictions and all of which he was fully aware by the way. It's one thing to be like that, quite another and quite unusual to know it and to question "why".

 

His autobio may be inflated in parts for effect but the introspective chapters are fascinating and painfully honest.

 

Whew, ok, enough "All About Errol"....

 

;)

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I am REALLY glad you are enjoying that book, MissG.

 

It is by far my favorite book ever written by a celebrity, and I do pimp it around here quite often. I think you are about the 4th person to read it after my pushing it on 'em...and all have been thrilled with this book.

 

Errol Flynn was hilariously funny - and he was certainly able to laugh at himself just as much as he was able to laugh at anyone else.

 

Nevertheless, there are some pretty stark parts of the book - as you have discovered. When I read about those three nights sitting on the edge of a bed with a gun in his hand, it just makes me tear up each time I read it because I can't even imagine the sort of pain he was in after that rape trial. He was found innocent and the money-grubbers who tried to stick it to him responded with "Oh well - no one was hurt!". But that wasn't true - he WAS hurt. He was nearly destroyed, in fact. That whole section of the book is pretty harrowing...and really makes you think. You can have money, fame, fortune...and still find yourself sitting on the edge of a bed in the dark, ready to blow your brains out.

 

Anyway, if you like MY WICKED, WICKED WAYS, you don't have to be done, either. As you may know, Errol wrote 2 other books - both of them semi-autobiographical (one more than the other, but nevertheless).

 

BEAM ENDS is a wonderful book as well...and although he uses fictional characters, basically chronicles his own exploits in the South Pacific and New Guinea as a young man - before he went to Hollywood. It's not a long book but it is certainly written in the same highly entertaining 'voice' as MY WICKED, WICKED WAYS. SHOWDOWN was his second book...and while it is not as critically acclaimed as BEAM ENDS...it is still an interesting read.

 

Errol Flynn only lived 50 years...but in those 50, he did more living than most people do in 80. He had an amazing life - certainly the most amazing of any Hollywood start I've ever read about.

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The account of those three harrowing nights, as you say, just get to me. And when he tells of being mobbed by people after the trial, describing their behavior to like primitives---only worse, and why? Because he'd been accused and cleared of a rape charge? That such a thing should hang over him for the rest of his life, driving him to become a caricature of himself instead a happy, fulfilled man is the stuff of tragedy.

 

And people are no better today---the Anna Nicole fiasco, all the sickening absorption in the problems of celebrities (and non-celebs, on the "reality" shows). Yikes!

 

I can't wait to get to both "Beam Ends" and "Showdown"---I know I'll treasure them. It's too bad he's not here to read what you and I have written, or seen the complimentary documentary TCM produced---it might have surprised him.

 

And, as odd as it might seem, I think he and Gary would have been splendid together in a film.

 

Again, thanks for turning me on to My Wicked, Wicked Ways!

 

ErrolFlynn8.jpg

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