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A GREAT ACTOR in FIVE great performances... and THE FOUNTAIN
Paulo Leite | Lisbon, Portugal | 09/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So you get five film starring this LEGENDARY ACTOR who never gave a anything but great performances... Even in so-so films, Gary Cooper would shine all over with hos leading style... his easy command of the screen... his magnetic persona... his sincere smile and on-screen will that would drive you love him in any character he portrayed.
In THE FOUNTAINHEAD (my favorite here), Gary gives one of his best performances as Howard Roark, an architect (inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, no less!) who was in a constant battle against mediocre styles. Someone trully creative and visionary who would not compromise. "I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build!"
But another thing about this film is the eye-popping sets and designs. INCREDIBLE... I still love that building all made of glass!!!!
In SERGEANT YORK, Gary portrays a pacifist (who is enlisted during WWI) who will discover the true meaning of fighting... and what being a Hero is all about. JOHN HUSTON was one of the screenwriters of this GREAT 1941 film who, I'm sure, did back then much more than just entertain. In fact, this is one of the best Hollywood war films during the 40's...
And, of course, with HOWARD HAWKS, you can never go wrong.
THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE is a big CinemaScope film where special effects trully shine. Again, here Gary cooper gives a superlative performance.
SPRINGFIELD RIFLE is a smaller Western by ANDRE DE TOTH with another great performance. Here, Cooper joins (undercover) a group of criminals in order to solve a mystery of stolen guns. This is an above average B-movie with a good script.
DALLAS is a post-Civil War drama of a man returning home to seek revenge. Another B-film with a great performance.
This box is worth buying because of two reasons: You get five films (three are trully great, two are trully good) for easily the price of just two or three...
...then, why not get them all?
Gary Cooper provides a fine example of the human spirit at i
"The Fountain Head When Ayn Rand wrote this book; the Fountain Head, she envisioned a hero, Howard Roark, that represents the ideal man, one we should get to know, understand and emulate. Individualism is the impacting message Ayn Rand leaves with us. Played by Gary Cooper; who takes on the role of the hero, the aspiring architect with an uncompromising creative vision, that will not bend when it comes to his beliefs and convictions... whether for a job, rewards, fame, or for acceptance. This movie represents a brilliant execution of one of the best books ever written! As a young child, Ayn Rand, witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, which she denounced from its outset. Living through the struggle made a mark on her personality, for through her writings we clearly understand the theory of individualism. Would highly recommend owning this movie if you want to learn about a hero who will relentlessly pursue his dreams without compromising his soul! Awesome!
Dallas In Dallas, Cooper is fun and as usual... debonaire. His role as Confederate raider Blayde "Reb" Hollister, is interesting to watch. The script is lively; with lots of action, and at times, rather funny, so we enjoyed it! We have watched most of the DVDs in this series thanks to the visit from one of our relatives; Arnold Kline, who simply... loves Cooper! Without a doubt, this DVD collection is something we should own, if we want to enjoy best in class performances!
The Wreck of the Mary Deare Aboard the freighter Mary Deare we find Gary Cooper, alone, involved in what seems to be a rather mysterious ship abandonment. Charlton Heston, in the ship salvaging business, is rather interested in the freighter because he considers it a business opportunity. But, the plot thickens. And soon, Heston is involved in the traumatic events that lead to the crew's departure. During a London Court of Inquiry, Cooper faces many who are out to prove his ill intent. Cooper's performance is best in class and for the first time, we witness someone who outshines Heston. Cooper demonstrates character and the strength necessary to redeem his name. Would highly suggest owning this DVD if you want to witness determination that demands justice, and character that prevails through trials and tribulations.
Sergeant York With this performance, Gary Cooper leaves no doubt as to his amazing ability to portray a decent, honest, and all-around principled man. He plays Alvin York, a man from the country, who was prone to drinking and having fun, until his mother, a new found love and an encounter with danger makes him find religion and meaning in his life. He is a sharpshooter who is drafted to fight during World War I, but who conscientiously objects because the Bible teaches us that we shall not kill. His performance is heroic, fun, adventuresome and gentle. One can not see these films without pondering whether Gary Cooper was acting, or is Gary Cooper simply a fine human being whose soul shines through to provide an example of the finest principles. Would highly recommend obtaining this DVD... In these troubled times we have much to learn from the human spirit shared through these magnificent movies."
A truly great screen actor at work
Kenneth V. Barnes | Benfleet, Essex. U.K. | 01/01/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gary Cooper was the most important screen actor to bridge the gap between silent pictures and the talkies. As Clint Eastwood, host of the documentary included in this 5-disc set,aaya "In a time now fast receding, Gary Cooper was the greatest of all movie stars." This is indeed true, for Cooper was the the natural precursor to such popular screen giants as James Stewart, Henry Fonda, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.
This set offers five films from his work at Warner Brothers and MGM ranging from 1941 to 1959. The only real signature performance is "Sergeant York" for which he won his first Academy Award as Best Actor. This is one of his most interesting films in that he appears in almost every scene in its two and a quarter hours running time. Any actor who can hold that amount of screen time and keep the interest of his audience is an exceptional actor. His tall, lanky frame and soft spoken drawl made him one of the most watchable of actors. He was the best example of the old maxim "less is more." Most of his dialogue was monosyllabic, but his face spoke volumes. The second film "The Fountainhead" may not be among his best, but it is certainly one of his most intriguing. Playing an idealistic architect, Cooper seems ill-suited to Ayn Rand's wordy and often pretentious script adapted from her own influential novel, but he turns in a most believable performance. This is more than can be said for the rest of the cast. That fine actress Patricia Neal is reduced to giveing an over-stated eye-rolling performance that is not at all worthy of her talent. Raymond Massey and Robert Douglas ( both fine actors ) are saddled with some of the worst dialogue of their careers. But Cooper succeeds in shining and rising above the confusion and even handles a six-minute speech with calm conviction. It has to be said,though, that the film is magnificently designed and expertly directed by King Vidor. "The Fountainhead" is an impressive love-it or hate-it picture. The public loved it and the critics hated it. Without Gary Cooper's towering presence, it would not have succeeded at all.
Of the remaining three pictures, two are Westerns "Dallas"(1950) and "Springfield Rifle" (1952)- a genre in which Cooper was always comfortable, even when the scripts and direction were not top drawer ( which is the case here ). The last is a very well-produced adaptation ( by Eric Ambler ) of the Hammond Innes best-selling novel "The Wreck of the Mary Deare" in which Gary Cooper handles a very difficult and strenuous role as a man falsely accused of scuttling a ship for profit. The action sequences at sea are very well staged and the complicated plot is told with commendable clarity. Cooper is supported by a powerhouse cast of strong actors like Charlton Heston, Michael Redgrave and a young Richard Harris and still succeeds in stealing every scene. Opinions are divided on whether this is a great picture. Some critics felt it was too waterlogged for its own good. I disagree. This is a most engrossing thriller with Gary Cooper in top form.
Warners have produced a fine box set here, but I can't help feeling it would have been better if they had included "Bright Leaf"(1950) -a melodrama of the tobacco industry that teamed him rather intrigingly with Lauren Bacall and again with Patricia Neal - and "The Hanging Tree" )1959) an atmospheric Western far superior to the two included here.
Despite these slight shortcomings, this is a box set that I am proud to add to my collection and, if you want to see a truly great screen actor at work,I recommend that you invest in this set. You won't be disappointed."
Best in class actor!
Alexander Ariano | Miami Lakes, Florida | 02/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the best films in this collection, Gary Cooper plays Alvin York, a pacifist unable to kill during Warld War I. A heroic performance that makes us ponder on the perenial subject of the value of life during conflict between men. An excellent experience. Would highly recommend this collection. As usual, Gary Cooper is a best-in-class actor!"
A well done tribute to Gary Cooper's work
calvinnme | 06/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This signature collection of films starring Gary Cooper that are now under the control of Warner Home Video is a great tribute to an actor whose film career spanned 35 years. Two of the films are 5 star films - "The Fountainhead" and "Sergeant York", two more are 4 star films - "The Wreck of the Mary Deare" and "Springfield Rifle", and one film is a 3 star work - "Dallas". The idea of the signature collections is to present the best performances of an actor or actress in as good a group of films as possible, not vice versa. Thus, you don't necessarily have the best movies a particular performer did, but you do have their finest performances.
"Sergeant York" gets the best treatment of the collection, with a special two disk edition that includes a commentary track by film historian Jeannine Basinger, the classic Warner Brothers cartoon "Porky's Preview", the vintage short film "Lions for Sale", several Gary Cooper film trailers, a very good documentary on the making of Sergeant York, and a documentary on the life Gary Cooper. Cooper does a very good job in holding your attention in a rather long film tribute to the story of Alvin York, who pretty much single-handedly killed 32 German soldiers and captured 132 others during World War I. This performance won him his first Best Actor Oscar.
The role of Howard Roark in "The Fountainhead" must have been a difficult one to pull off, but Cooper does it with style and with believability in a real departure from his other screen roles. Here he is still the rugged individualist, but a different kind than what you're probably accustomed to seeing. I've never bought into Ayn Rand's philosophy, but this movie is very well done with some great performances, even if you do have a hard time buying the motivations of the supporting players. The film comes with a featurette on the making of the film, and is quite enlightening.
The other three films do not have extra features. My favorite of the three is "The Wreck of the Mary Deare". Here Cooper costars with Charleton Heston as a mysterious ship captain found alone on a ghost ship when Heston's salvage company runs across the abondoned vessel. Through a large part of the film you can't tell if Cooper is playing a crazy man, a criminal, or one of the good guys. It's a good combination maritime adventure and courtroom drama and also features a good performance from a very young Richard Harris in a supporting role.
No Gary Cooper collection would be complete without some westerns, and so we have "Springfield Rifle", which is a rather obscure but excellent western with plenty of twists and turns in the plot. "High Noon" it is not, but it will still hold your interest with Cooper playing a dishonorably discharged Army officer during the late stages of the Civil War. Finally, there is "Dallas", another western and the least entertaining of the five films. It is above average, but that is about all. The best part of the film is seeing Raymond Massey, who often plays self-righteous parts, play a murderous villain. Don't get me wrong, Cooper plays the fugitive ex-Confederate soldier to perfection, it's just the material itself that could have been better.
Warner's still has several other good Gary Cooper films it has not released to DVD yet, so perhaps there will be a volume two. If so, one wish I have that I hope is granted is that Warner Bros. rescues "Meet John Doe" from the public domain and includes it."