Mr Deeds Goes to Town

  • Directors: Frank Capra
  • Producers: Frank Capra
  • Writers: Clarence Budington Kelland, Robert Riskin
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur

In the middle of the Great Depression, Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper), co-owner of a tallow works, part-time greeting card poet and tuba-playing inhabitant of the hamlet of Mandrake Falls, Vermont, inherits the enormous fortune of 20 million dollars from his late uncle, Martin Semple. His uncle’s scheming attorney, John Cedar (Douglass Dumbrille), locates Deeds and takes him to New York City.

Cedar gives his cynical troubleshooter, ex-newspaperman Cornelius Cobb (Lionel Stander), the task of keeping reporters away from the heir. He is outfoxed, however, by star reporter Louise “Babe” Bennett (Jean Arthur), who appeals to Deeds’ romantic fantasy of rescuing a damsel in distress by masquerading as a poor worker named Mary Dawson. She pretends to faint from exhaustion after “walking all day to find a job” and worms her way into his confidence. She proceeds to write a series of enormously popular articles mocking Longfellow’s hick ways and odd behavior, naming him the “Cinderella Man”. Meanwhile, Cedar tries to get Deeds’ power of attorney in order to keep his financial misdeeds secret.

Deeds, however, proves to be a shrewd judge of character, easily fending off Cedar and other greedy opportunists. He wins Cobb’s wholehearted respect and eventually Babe’s love. However, when Cobb finds out Bennett’s true identity, Deeds is left heartbroken.

During his sanity hearing, things look bleak for Deeds, especially since he initially refuses to defend himself. Cedar even gets Deeds’s Mandrake Falls tenants, eccentric elderly sisters Jane and Amy Faulkner (Margaret Seddon and Margaret McWade), to testify that Deeds is “pixilated.” That charge falls apart when the two spinsters admit that everyone in town, except themselves, suffers from the same affliction. When Babe convinces Deeds that she truly loves him, he systematically punches holes in Cedar’s case (before punching Cedar in the face) and the judge declares him to be “the sanest man who ever walked into this courtroom”.

The Pride of the Yankees

  • Directors: Sam Wood
  • Producers: Samuel Goldwyn
  • Writers: Paul Gallico, Jo Swerling, Herman J Mankiewicz
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Family, Romance, Sport
  • Actors: Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Walter Brennan, Babe Ruth, Dan Duryea

The film emphasizes the personal relationships of Gehrig’s tragically short life, first, with his parents, especially his domineering mother, his friendship with the sportswriter, Sam, and, finally, the “storybook romance” and marriage to Eleanor. Although The Pride of the Yankees is often hailed as the greatest of all sports movies, the details of Gehrig’s baseball career are somewhat slighted, represented by montages of ballparks, pennants and Cooper swinging bats and running bases. His record of 2,130 consecutive games is prominently mentioned, yet the viewer is left to surmise his motive for such dedication. The real Lou Gehrig’s irrepressible exuberance for the game, his boyish delight in making the ball “jump” off his bat and in galloping around the bases as fast as he could, never quite makes it onto the screen.

Sergeant York

  • Directors: Howard Hawks
  • Producers: Howard Hawks, Jesse L Lasky, Hal B Wallis
  • Writers: Harry Chandlee, Abem Finkel, John Huston, Howard Koch
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, History, War
  • Actors: Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan

Alvin York (Gary Cooper), a poor Tennessee hillbilly, is an exceptional marksman, but a ne’er-do-well prone to drinking and fighting, which doesn’t make things any easier for his patient mother (Margaret Wycherly). He undergoes a religious awakening and turns his life around, assisted by Pastor Rosier Pile (Walter Brennan).

When York is drafted into the army for World War I, he tries to avoid induction as a conscientious objector due to his religious beliefs. His status as a true conscientious objector is rejected since his church has no official standing and he reluctantly reports for army basic training. During basic training, his superiors find out that he is a phenomenal marksman and promote him to corporal.

York still wants nothing to do with the army and killing. A sympathetic commanding officer lectures York about text from a U.S. history book. He gives York temporary leave to go home and think about fighting to save lives. York wants to read the U.S. history book and the officer gives it to him. He tells York that after his leave if he still doesn’t want to fight he will discharge him from the army. York reads the book, decides he will serve his country and reports back for duty. York decides to leave it in God’s hands, but still doubts he can kill someone because of his interpretation of the bible.

York later explains that he did what he did to hasten the end of the war and minimize the killing.

Wings

  • Directors: William A Wellman
  • Producers: Lucien Hubbard
  • Writers: Story, John Monk Saunders, Screenplay, Hope Loring, Louis D Lighton, Titles, Julian Johnson
  • Genres: Drama, Romance, War, Action
  • Actors: Clara Bow, Charles Buddy Rogers, Richard Arlen, Gary Cooper

Jack Powell (Charles “Buddy” Rogers) and David Armstrong (Richard Arlen) are rivals in the same small American town, both vying for the attentions of pretty Sylvia Lewis (Jobyna Ralston). Jack fails to realize that “the girl next door”, Mary Preston (Clara Bow), is secretly in love with him. The two young men both enlist to become combat pilots in the Air Service. When they leave for training camp, Jack mistakenly believes Sylvia prefers him; she is too kindhearted to disillusion him, but lets David know that she loves him.

Jack and David are billeted together. Their tentmate is Cadet White (Gary Cooper), but their acquaintance is all too brief; White is killed in an air crash the same day. Undaunted, the two men endure a rigorous training period, where they go from being enemies to best friends. Upon graduating, they are shipped off to France to fight the Germans.

Mary joins the war effort by becoming an ambulance driver. When she is in Paris, she learns that Jack is on leave there. She finds him, but he is too drunk to recognize her. She puts him to bed, but when two soldiers barge in while she is innocently changing out of a borrowed dress back into her uniform in the same room, she is forced to resign and return to America.

With the end of the war, Jack returns home to a hero’s welcome. When he returns David’s effects to his grieving parents, David’s mother blames the war, not Jack, for her son’s death. Then, Jack is reunited with Mary and realizes he loves her.

High Noon

  • Directors: Fred Zinnemann
  • Producers: Stanley Kramer, Carl Foreman
  • Writers: John W Cunningham, Carl Foreman
  • Genres: Drama, Western
  • Actors: Gary Cooper, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Grace Kelly

Will Kane (Gary Cooper), the longtime Marshal of Hadleyville, New Mexico Territory, has just married pacifist Quaker Amy (Grace Kelly), turned in his badge, and is preparing to move away to become a storekeeper. Soon after, the town learns that Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald), a criminal Kane brought to justice, is due to arrive on the noon train. Miller had been sentenced to the gallows, but was pardoned for reasons never stated in the film. In court, he had vowed to get revenge on Kane and anyone who got in his way. His three gang members wait for him at the station. The worried townspeople encourage Kane to leave, hoping to defuse the situation.

Kane and his wife leave, but Kane has a crisis of conscience and turns back. He reclaims his badge and tries to swear in help, but it becomes clear that no one is willing to get involved. His deputy, Harvey Pell (Lloyd Bridges), resigns. Only his former lover, Helen RamГ­rez (Katy Jurado), supports him, but there is little she can do to help. Disgusted, she sells her business and prepares to leave town. His wife threatens to leave on the noon train with or without him, but he stubbornly refuses to give in.

In the end, Kane faces the four gunmen alone. He guns down two of Miller’s men, though he himself is wounded. Helen Ramirez and Amy both board the train, but Amy gets off when she hears the sound of gunfire. Amy chooses her husband’s life over her religious beliefs and kills the third gunman by shooting him in the back. Miller then takes her hostage and offers to trade her for Kane. Kane agrees, coming out into the open. Amy, however, claws Miller’s face, causing him to release her. Kane then shoots and kills him. Then, as the cowardly townspeople emerge, Kane contemptuously throws his marshal’s star in the dirt and leaves town with his wife.