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Westerner (1940)
Westerner
1940
Actors: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Doris Davenport, Fred Stone, Forrest Tucker
Director: William Wyler
Genres: Westerns, Drama
NR     1998     1hr 40min

Having created an instant classic the previous year with their superlative production of Wuthering Heights, producer Samuel Goldwyn, director William Wyler, and cinematographer Gregg Toland reunited for this classic Wester...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Doris Davenport, Fred Stone, Forrest Tucker
Director: William Wyler
Creators: Samuel Goldwyn, Jo Swerling, Lillian Hellman, Niven Busch, Oliver La Farge, Stuart N. Lake, W.R. Burnett
Genres: Westerns, Drama
Sub-Genres: Westerns, Love & Romance
Studio: Hbo Home Video
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/29/1998
Original Release Date: 09/20/1940
Theatrical Release Date: 09/20/1940
Release Year: 1998
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Black and White,Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Movie Reviews

A marvelous and strikingly unique Western
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 04/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of the most unusual and delightful Westerns ever made. What sets it apart is the relative lack of action, the way that director William Wyler shifts most of the interest onto the relationship and interpersonal interplay between Cole Hardin (Gary Cooper, in one of his finest Western roles) and Judge Roy Bean (Walter Brennan). The way the two move from instant enemies, to unexpected friends, to uneasy opponents, to reluctant enemies, and finally back to sympathetic friends is masterfully portrayed. As fine as Cooper is, much of the credit lies with Brennan, who became the first person to win three acting Oscars by picking up his third Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Unlike his other Oscar wins, this role was essentially a lead role. Although many actors have portrayed Judge Roy Bean over the years, Brennan's is the definitive one, despite being the least historically accurate. If his version isn't the most faithful, it is the most compelling. He manages to be utterly absurd, dangerously unpredictable, and utterly likable at the same time.The story essentially falls into two halves. The first involves Gary Cooper's accidental identification in Judge Bean's saloon as a horse thief, his trial and conviction, and clever manipulation of the Judge to gain a reprieve. The second half concerns Cooper's taking sides in a range war, siding with a lone female farmer against cattlemen. Both halves are brought together nicely in Cooper and Brennan's final struggle that ends the film. Along with Walter Brennan and Gary Cooper, the real star of this film is Gregg Toland, whose cinematography rivets the viewer's attention on the screen from beginning to end. Toland, who died tragically young in 1948 at the age of 44, is universally regarded as one of the very greatest cinematographers of all time, and THE WESTERNER was one of his finest efforts in a very, very great streak of films over a relatively short period of time. In the period running from 1939-41, Toland was responsible for filming such extraordinary classics as WUTHERING HEIGHTS, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, THE WESTERNER, and CITIZEN KANE. Has any cinematographer ever had a two-year period matching this one? I saw THE WESTERNER years before I knew who Gregg Toland was, but I long retained the memory of several of the amazing shots Toland framed. He was a favorite of director William Wyler, who would employ him often during Toland's tragically short career.Toland's photography manages to give this film an epic feel and scope, while the tensions in the relationship between Cooper and Brennan make it a highly intimate film. This is easily one of the most unique Westerns in the history of Holly, and one of the best."
Unrestored DVD
Icepick | Castroville, CA USA | 11/21/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"It's a very good film but I knock the score down for the shoddy quality of the DVD. Graininess is apparent throughout. There are also some bad scars on the film that show up. Most annoying was a frequent change in contrast. The film would jump to a faded condition, sometimes in the middle of the scene. This movie would be a real prize with a restored print on DVD. Let's hope they get around to it."
Cooper cracks necks with the best of em'
Maddox | United States | 12/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Westerner is simply one of the best westerns ever made. It starts of course with Gregg Toland's incredible cinematography. "The Westerner" has all of the classic elements of the genre, the lonesome drifter (Cooper), the half-evil judge (Brennan as Judge Roy Bean), the "searching-for-a-real-man" woman, the gang of thug rustlers (played by a gang of various thugs), the wimpy farmers (played by a bunch of wimpy farmers), the raunchy bar-room singer (played by a lock of golden hair), and the climatic shoot-out (Cooper versus Brennan). The scenes that steal the movie are those in which Cooper kindly agress to gently crack Judge Roy Beans stiff neck with a quick twist. You can hear the pops and also feel the relief as you watch."
The NEW 2008 version is MUCH MUCH better than the OOP HBO is
Richardson | Sunny California USA | 05/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm not going to review this dead bang CLASSIC...Gary Cooper at his prime, William Wyler at his....nuff said. What I am going to inform everybody is I just viewed the new MGM 2008 DVD against my long out of print HBO copy that I paid a fortune for and the differences are striking...I thought the original DVD was very good for its age...a bit grainy but with some good contrast and bite...but this new DVD looks like a print right off the original negative!!!! I can't believe they are not touting the amazing improvement but the first DVD was early in the DVD era and was obviously in retrospect a transfer from an inferior source. the verdict..If you are a classic film or western fan or a fan of Gary Coopers...this WILL be the best $10 you EVER spent!!! Yee Haaa!"