|Key Cast||Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan|
|Film Type||Black and White|
In Classic Roles, Gary Cooper Squares Off Against Walter Brennan in 1940’s “The Westerner”
One of the Old West’s legendary characters, Judge Roy Bean, is unforgettable when one of classic Hollywood’s legendary character actors, Walter Brennan, exceptionally portrays him onscreen in William Wyler’s “The Westerner” (1940).
Walter Brennan’s Bean is the colorful, corrupt arbiter of the “Law West of the Pecos” at the remote outpost of Vinegaroon, Texas. The iconic Gary Cooper plays Cole Hardin, accused of stealing a horse and hauled in to town to face Bean’s saloon-based, kangaroo court. Hardin, who’s innocent, manages to forestall his seemingly certain hanging by talking up a connection with the object of Bean’s infatuation, the “Jersey Lily”: stunning British stage actress Lily Langtry. The eventual discovery and conviction of the actual horse thief settles that matter, but the tension between Hardin and the Judge mounts once Hardin becomes aware of the abuses local homesteaders are suffering at the hands of Bean-backed ranchers.
Hardin befriends Caliphet Mathews (Fred Stone) and his daughter Jane-Ellen (Doris Davenport), at the head of the homesteaders’ struggle, and his support for them increasingly draws the ire of Bean. As the conflict ratchets up and blood is shed, the stage is set for an intricately constructed showdown–one hinging upon the Judge’s devoted obsession with Langtry, after whom, during the course of events, he renames the town.
Walter Brennan won his third Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “The Westerner”–the film was also nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Writing (Screenplay)–and Cooper cemented his status as one of Hollywood’s premier leading men and most defining Western stars.
“The Westerner” excels as an elegant, fine-acted classic of the genre.
• Gary Cooper was at the height of his popularity when he starred in “The Westerner.” Reportedly, in 1939, the U.S. Treasury Department released that Gary Cooper was the nation’s top wage earner, earning $482, 819. This made him too expensive to star in the western movie “Stagecoach” that year, which was perfectly fine with a young, B-western actor named John Wayne. Wayne was cast as the lead in “Stagecoach” and it is this western that catapulted John Wayne into major movie stardom.
• When Walter Brennan won his Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role as Judge Roy Bean, he became the first actor in screen history to win three Best Supporting Actor Academy Awards. His other two Best Supporting Actor Awards were for the 1938 drama “Kentucky” and the 1936 movie “Come and Get It.”
Gary Cooper stars in this classic western as a cowboy who almost gets himself hung in the kangaroo courtroom of Judge Roy Bean which is masterfully played by veteran cowboy actor Walter Brennan.
Judge Roy Bean’s infatuation with actress “Lily Langtry” helps Cooper in multiple ways.
This is great classic western from the 1940s!
The Gary Cooper Collection
The Gary Cooper
Movie DVD Collection
This special collection of Gary Cooper movies contain four of his top films:
• The Westerner
• Man of the West
• Along Came Jones
• Pride of the Yankees
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