Theme Times – Gary Cooper

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Gary Cooper By Eiga no Tomo – Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

Gary Cooper (born Frank James Cooper; May 7, 1901 – May 13, 1961) was an American actor known for his natural, authentic, and understated acting style. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice and had a further three nominations, as well as receiving an Academy Honorary Award for his career achievements in 1961. He was one of the top 10 film personalities for 23 consecutive years, and one of the top money-making stars for 18 years. The American Film Institute (AFI) ranked Cooper at No. 11 on its list of the 25 greatest male stars of classic Hollywood cinema.

Cooper’s career spanned 36 years, from 1925 to 1961, and included leading roles in 84 feature films. He was a major movie star from the end of the silent film era through to the end of the golden age of Classical Hollywood. His screen persona appealed strongly to both men and women, and his range of performances included roles in most major film genres. His ability to project his own personality onto the characters he played contributed to his natural and authentic appearance on screen. Throughout his career, he sustained a screen persona that represented the ideal American hero.

Cooper began his career as a film extra and stunt rider, but soon landed acting roles. After establishing himself as a Western hero in his early silent films, he appeared as the Virginian and became a movie star in 1929 with his first sound picture, The Virginian. In the early 1930s, he expanded his heroic image to include more cautious characters in adventure films and dramas such as A Farewell to Arms (1932) and The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935). During the height of his career, Cooper portrayed a new type of hero—a champion of the common man—in films such as Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Meet John Doe (1941), Sergeant York (1941), The Pride of the Yankees (1942), and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943). He later portrayed more mature characters at odds with the world in films such as The Fountainhead (1949) and High Noon (1952). In his final films, he played non-violent characters searching for redemption in films such as Friendly Persuasion (1956) and Man of the West (1958).


Gary Cooper By Deems Taylor, published by Simon & Schuster, New York – A Pictorial History of the Movies, page 176, Public Domain

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Theme Times is a once a week feature – who would you like to see for the remainder of the month of May, check the options below and let me know in the comments section. Figures represent votes

Cheers Rory

Jim Croce [1]

Greta Garbo [1]

Emma Thompson

Marlon Brando [1]

Bette Davis [3]

The Fonda’s
Henry [1], Jane [1], Peter

Christopher Walken [1]
Spencer Tracy [1]

Ben Kingsley

This episode is dedicated to  Betty of Guideline’s Web and  Angie of King Ben’s Grandma   who both expressed an interest in Coopers bio for Theme Times.

Here are my 11 Gary Cooper films – l liked Cooper as an actor but truthfully only saw a handful of his films most of which l display here today [High Noon my most favourited] = how about yourselves? I know Betty and Angie are fans but who else? Let me know below.

1 – The Winning of Barbara Worth – 1926

Willard, an engineer, returns home, to help his stepfather build a dam. He falls in love with Barbara, the adopted daughter of Jefferson. He has to compete with Abe to win her heart.

2 – The Virginian – 1929

A ranch foreman gives a job to an old friend, but when the two become competing suitors, and the foreman succeeds, his friend joins a local gang of cattle thieves. Eventually, the foreman is forced to have his friend lynched, but saddled with guilt, he swears to kill the leader of the gang, who picks his adversary’s wedding day for the climactic shoot-out.

3 – The Lives of a Bengal Lancer– 1935

As the British Empire expands its presence in northwest India, Lt. McGregor (Gary Cooper) oversees two new recruits with the 41st regiment of the celebrated Bengal Lancers. Lt. Forsythe (Franchot Tone) is eager for action against Islamic invaders, while Lt. Stone (Richard Cromwell) must pass muster with his father (Sir Guy Standing), the outpost commander. Deadly threats escalate when the men join a mission to overthrow an evil chieftain, Mohammed Khan (Douglas Dumbrille).

4 – Mr. Deeds Goes to Town – 1936

A small-town poet has to deal with the corruption of city life, after he inherits a fortune.

5 – Beau Geste – 1939

Beau, John and Digby Geste are brothers who join the Foreign Legion, where they fall under the rule of tyrannical Sergeant Markoff. Beau and John are assigned to Fort Zinderneuf, where Markoff tries to break their spirit, aware of a dark family secret concerning a fabulous jewel one of them carries. As tensions rise, Arabs attack the fort and rivalries must be thrown aside in a desperate battle for life.

6 – Sergeant York– 1941

A pacifist Alvin C. York is drafted into WWI and becomes a war hero in spite of his beliefs.

7 – Ball of Fire– 1941

A group of young ivory-tower lexicographers realise they need to hear how real people talk for their research. They end up saving a nightclub performer from the police and her boyfriend, a mob boss.

8 – High Noon – 1952

Former marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) is preparing to leave the small town of Hadleyville, New Mexico, with his new bride, Amy (Grace Kelly), when he learns that local criminal Frank Miller has been set free and is coming to seek revenge on the marshal who turned him in. When he starts recruiting deputies to fight Miller, Kane is discouraged to find that the people of Hadleyville turn cowardly when the time comes for a showdown, and he must face Miller and his cronies alone.

9 – The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell – 1955

U.S. Col. Billy Mitchell (Gary Cooper) is a decorated World War I veteran airman frustrated by the military’s mistreatment of the flying program. With military brass and many in the government still favoring battleships, Mitchell sees funding cut to aviation, resulting in the unnecessary deaths of pilots. When Mitchell publicly accuses his superiors of ineptitude, he is court-martialed. At the trial, Congressman Frank Reid (Ralph Bellamy) advises Mitchell, who faces Maj. Guillion (Rod Steiger).

10 – The Hanging Tree – 1959

Joseph, a doctor keeps dominating people’s lives. He frees a robber, Rune from getting hanged; and forces his charge on him too as compensation. Things change, when Elizabeth enters Joseph’s life.

11 – The Naked Edge – 1961

After a man is murdered and a large sum of money disappears from an office, Donald Heath (Ray McAnally) is convicted of the crime based on the testimony of his colleague, George Radcliffe (Gary Cooper). George’s wife, Martha (Deborah Kerr), starts to become suspicious of her husband when, after the crime, he invests money in a business venture and begins to act strangely. When a blackmailing letter arrives from Jeremy Gray (Eric Portman), Martha risks her life to find out the truth.

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11 thoughts on “Theme Times – Gary Cooper

  1. When the girls were younger, every Sunday morning we’d watch the AMC (American Movie Classics) channel. All the Golden Age movies. My girls still love old movies. I’m thankful to all the actors of that time for entertaining us and helping me create memories.

    As for the list you have up in this post: Yes to all.

    1. Mm, let me think – l am usually good at these things famous actor name starting with G … dang this is hard .. Gary Burghoff!!! Barlow? Oh no he’s not an actor …. mmm … aaah how about ?

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