Monday, September 16, 2013

That's my Gary Cooper

(Yeah, I've been busy this year. First post in a while.)

Cooper in The Texan (1930)
Gary Cooper is probably my favorite Hollywood actor. I gather that most people know him from the Westerns he did in the 1940s and 50s, but I must have seen him first in 1933's Design for Living, a pre-Code movie about a ménage à trois that everyone absolutely has to watch.

Before becoming a movie cowboy, he typically played soft-hearted, rather goofy types. Two of the best examples of this are Ball of Fire and Meet John Doe, in both of which he was paired with Barbara Stanwyck. She's another wonderful actor, and they work very well together. She's feisty and he's shy. And his big, sad, puzzled eyes are to die for.

I haven't seen The Texan, but it looks a treat, judging from the photo at left. So far the only Cooper Western I've seen is Along Came Jones (1945), in which Cooper plays a hapless galoot named Melody (!) Jones, who has to be rescued by sharpshooter Loretta Young. I assume that he toughened up at some point. I might check out some of his other Westerns. (I do advise you to stay away from Love in the Afternoon, though. He's much too old to be romancing Audrey Hepburn.)

Finally, here's some awesome dish on Cooper.