Tag Archives: Gary Cooper

Film: Gone with the Wind

 

According to legend, more than 1,400 actresses were considered for the part of Scarlett O'Hara. Nineteen were given screen tests; the losers included Tallulah Bankhead, Jean Arthur, Susan Hayward, and Lana Turner. Uploaded by theyoungandhungry.com.

(Originally posted April 29, 2009)

Did you know that Gary Cooper turned down the role of Rhett Butler? Oh, yeah. He even said, “Gone with the Wind is going to be the biggest flop in Hollywood

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history. I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.”

Clearly, Gary was no psychic. Just how big was GWTW? In 2007 the American Film Institute voted it the #6 Greatest Movie of All Time. For the premiere in Atlanta, the Governor declared a state holiday. It won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. And if total box office receipts were adjusted for inflation, it would be the number one grossing movie of all time. The projected total: $3.78 billion.

Yes, this is the first movie added to the list of Great American Things. You may think another film should have had the honor.

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Actress: Jean Arthur

 

Jean Arthur's three films with Frank Capra -- "You Can't Take It With You," "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" -- established her as one of the greatest comedic actresses of all time. Uploaded by the-frame.com.

I’ll readily admit that Jean Arthur isn’t as well known today as some of her contemporaries. But during the 1930s and 1940s she reigned as one of Hollywood’s leading leading ladies, especially in the comedy genre. Robert Osborne, host on the network where you can still see Jean Arthur’s films (Turner Classic Movies), called her “the quintessential comedic leading lady.”

While she made a couple of dozen films during the Twenties and early Thirties, her breakout role came when Frank Capra cast her as a tough newspaper reporter who fell in love with a country bumpkin. The country bumpkin was Gary Cooper (Great American Things, April 28, 2010) and the film was Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Capra loved her distinctive voice and pretty girl-next-door

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looks, and cast her in two more hits, both with Jimmy Stewart (Great American Things, April 8, 2009): You Can’t Take It with You and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Arthur also made several comedies (Only Angels Have Wings and The Talk of the Town) with Cary Grant, who was considered more of a comic actor than a leading man early in his career. She was nominated for an Academy Award for 1944’s The More the Merrier. Arthur all but retired after that year, only appearing in two more movies, one of which was the classic Shane.

Arthur eventually taught drama, first at Vassar College (where Meryl Streep was one of her students), then here in Winston-Salem at the North Carolina School of the Arts. One of the skills she stressed with her classes was the art of being natural on stage and film. She said, “I had to learn that to appear natural on the screen requires a vast amount of training, that is the test of an actor’s art.”