Sunday, Sep 2020
Director: William Wyler
Screenwriters: Niven Busch & Jo Swerling from Stuart Lake's story
Length: 100 mins. B&W
Theme Song: Dimitri Tiomkin
Released: 1940

The Westerner PosterGary Cooper is the saddle-bound stranger Cole Hardin in this lighthearted Classic. Cole happens into a town run by Judge Roy Bean (Walter Brennan). Bean is a hanging judge with a soft spot for an English showgirl, Lilly Langtry. Cole repeatedly exploits the Judge's fondness for the "Jersey Lil" to escape death.

Brennans' performance is magnificent, and earned him a supporting actor Oscar. His rapport with Cooper is magical and at its greatest in the scene where a supposed lock of Lillys' hair changes hands.

Cole tries to reform the Judge but to no avail. The Judge favors the cattlemen and is bent on driving farmers off the range (similar to Brennans role as the leader of the Clanton's in My Darling Clementine). After a farm is burned to the ground, Cole asks the Judge if he was involved. The Judge vehemently denies any knowledge of the crime. He even states that; "if there was a Bible in town, I'd swear on that". But when asked to swear on the Lock of Lilly's' hair, the Judge comes clean.

Of the several Westerns that William Wyler directed, The Westerner is clearly his finest. He captures the essence of a remote Western town where law and lawlessness are arbitrary. The movie also features the dustiest street brawl ever filmed. Definitely a Classic.

Cast:

  • Gary Cooper --- Cole Hardin
  • Walter Brennan --- Judge Roy W. Bean
  • Doris Davenport -- Jane Ellen Mathews
  • Fred Stone --- Caliphet Mathews
  • Forrest Tucker --- Wade Harper
  • Paul Hurst --- Chickenfoot
  • Chill Wills --- Southeast Wyatt
  • Lilian Bond ---- Lily Langtry
  • Dana Andrews --- Hod Johnson
  • Charles Halton -- Mort Borrow
  • Trevor Bardette -- Shad Wilkins
  • Tom Tyler --- King Evans
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