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TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Gary Cooper [5 Discs] [DVD]
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Overview

Special Features

  • Sergeant York features:
  • Commentary by Jeanine Basinger
  • Sergeant York: Of God and Country
  • Gary Cooper: American Life, American Legend
  • Cartoon Porky's Preview
  • Short Lions for Sale
  • Cooper trailer gallery
  • The Fountainhead features:
  • The making of The Fountainhead
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Friendly Persuasion:
  • Documentary segment from the 1955 NBC-TV series Wide Wide World
  • Love in the Afternoon features:
  • Cast/director film highlights
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Love in the Afternoon
Gary Cooper more or less repeats his international-roue characterization from 1938's Bluebeard's Eighth Wife for the 1957 romantic comedy Love in the Afternoon (both films were co-scripted by Billy Wilder, who also directed the latter picture). Audrey Hepburn co-stars as the daughter of Parisian private eye Maurice Chevalier. Investigating the amorous activities of Cooper, Chevalier relates what he's discovered to cuckolded husband John McGiver, who declares that he's going after Cooper with a pistol. Overhearing this conversation, Hepburn rushes off to rescue Cooper. She keeps him far away from McGiver by adopting a "woman of the world" pose. Cooper quickly sees through this charade; still, she is fascinated by Hepburn and attempts to relocate her after she disappears. Meeting Chevalier one day, Cooper relates the story of the Mystery Woman, never dreaming that he is describing Chevalier's daughter. Equally in the dark, Chevalier offers to locate the elusive Hepburn. Once he's tumbled to the fact that his quarry is his own flesh and blood, Chevalier advises Hepburn against contemplating a relationship with the much-older Cooper. She, of course, fails to heed this warning, setting the stage for an ultraromantic finale. Love in the Afternoon is highlighted by a superb running gag involving a quartet of gypsy violinists, who insist upon dogging Cooper's trail wherever he goes-including a steam bath. Love in the Afternoon was adapted by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond from the novel Ariane by Claude Anet. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Friendly Persuasion
Adapted from the best-selling novel by Jessamyn West, Friendly Persuasion is set in Southern Indiana in the early days of the Civil War. Gary Cooper plays Jess Birdwell, patriarch of a Quaker family which does not believe in warfare. Birdwell's son Josh (Anthony Perkins) wishes to adhere to his family's pacifism, but is afraid that if he doesn't sign up for military service, he'll prove to be a coward. Josh joins the Home Guard, which disturbs his mother Eliza (Dorothy McGuire). But Jess Birdwell realizes that his son must follow the dictates of his own conscience. Josh proves his courage to himself when he is wounded during a Rebel raid, while the elder Birdwell is able to stay faithful to his religious calling by not killing a Southern soldier when given both a chance and a good reason to do so. Allegedly, writer Jessamyn West nearly scotched her deal with producer/director William Wyler and distributor Allied Artists when Gary Cooper, taking his fans into consideration, insisted upon including a scene in which he forsakes his pacifism and takes arms against the Rebels. If true, then wiser heads prevailed, since no such scene exists in the final release print. Though uncredited due to his status as a blacklistee, Michael Wilson wrote the screenplay for Friendly Persuasion--and even won an Oscar nomination. Also nominated was the film's chart-busting theme song, "Thee I Love" (by Dmitri Tiomkin and Paul Francis Webster). The story was remade as a 2-hour TV pilot film in 1975. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Fountainhead
The hero of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead is Howard Roark (Gary Cooper), a fiercely independent architect obviously patterned after Frank Lloyd Wright. Rather than compromise his ideals, Roark takes menial work as a quarryman to finance his projects. He falls in love with heiress Dominique (Patricia Neal), but ends the relationship when he has the opportunity to construct buildings according to his own wishes. Dominique marries a newspaper tycoon (Raymond Massey) who at first conducts a vitriolic campaign against the "radical" Roark, but eventually becomes his strongest supporter. Upon being given a public-housing contract on the proviso that his plans not be changed in any way, Roark is aghast to learn that his designs will be radically altered. Roark sneaks into the unfinished structure at night, makes certain no one else is around, and dynamites the project into oblivion. At his trial, Roark acts as his own defense, delivering an eloquent paean to individuality. He is acquitted, while the newspaper tycoon, upset that he could offer Roark no help during the trial, kills himself. This clears the way for a final clinch between Roark and Dominique on the skeleton of his latest building project. Ayn Rand's celebration of Objectivism didn't translate very well to film, with Gary Cooper coming off more selfish and petulant than anything else. The Fountainhead's saving graces are the solid direction by King Vidor, the rhapsodic musical score by Max Steiner, and the symbolism inherent in Cooper's manipulation of his power drill when he first lays eyes on Patricia Neal! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Sergeant York
When World War I hero Alvin York agreed to sell the movie rights to his life story to Warner Bros., it was on three conditions: (1) That the film contains no phony heroics, (2) that Mrs.York not be played by a Hollywood "glamour girl" and (3) That Gary Cooper portray York on screen. All three conditions were met, and the result is one of the finest and most inspirational biographies ever committed to celluloid. When the audience first meets young farmer Alvin York (Cooper), he's the cussin'est, hell-raisin'est critter in the entire Tennessee Valley. All of this changes when York is struck by lighting during a late-night rainstorm. Chalking up the bolt from the blue as a message from God, York does a complete about-face and finds Religion, much to the delight of local preacher Rosier Pile (Walter Brennan). Despite plenty of provocation, York vows never to get angry at anyone ever again, determining to be a good husband and provider for his sweetheart Gracie Williams (Joan Leslie). When America goes to war in 1917, York elects not to answer the call when drafted, declaring himself a conscientious objector. Forced to go to boot camp, he proves himself a born leader, yet still he balks at the thought of killing anyone. York's understanding commanding officer Major Buxton (Stanley Ridges) slowly convinces the young pacifist that violence is sometimes the only way to defend Democracy. Later on, while serving with the AEF in the Argonne Forest, Sergeant York sees several of his buddies, including his Bronxite best pal Pusher Ross (George Tobias), killed in an enemy ambush. His anger aroused, York personally kills 25 German soldiers, then single-handedly captures 132 prisoners. As a result, York becomes the most decorated hero of WW1, celebrated by no less than General John J. Pershing as "the greatest civilian soldier" of the war. The film won Gary Cooper his first Academy Award, and also picked up an Oscar for Best Film Editing. Not surprisingly, it ended up as the highest-grossing film of 1941. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Gary Cooper
    Gary Cooper - Frank Flannagan
  • Audrey Hepburn
    Audrey Hepburn - Ariane Chavasse
  • Maurice Chevalier
    Maurice Chevalier - Claude Chavasse
  • John McGiver
    John McGiver - Monsieur X
  • Van Doude
    Van Doude - Michel
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