Saturday, April 27, 2013

Gary Cooper: American Life, American Legend

For a tough guy, maybe the foremost tough guy in the movies alongside John Wayne, Gary Cooper was an extremely sensitive actor. Born to British parents and a comfortable existence in Helena, Montana, he struggled for several years making his name in acting, taking on bit roles before breaking through in the World War I fighter pilot movie "Wings." From there on he used his cool, downplayed image in such classics as "High Noon", "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town", and "Sergeant York", winning two Oscars along the way and cementing his image as one of the greatest and most respected Hollywood actors. "American Life, American" is a film from film critic Richard Schickel has a niche for these clip show style documentaries. That being said, I would have preferred to hear more on Cooper's life and even the comment on his films is minimal (for "The Pride of the Yankees" all that is said is he had to learn how to play ball lefthanded!). The film is also hosted by Clint Eastwood who contributes ultra hokey narration for the man who must have been his hero.