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Movie Fact #312 - October 21st, 2021


The 1940 film The Westerner almost didn't have it's lead star for Cole Harden. When Gary Cooper learned that Walter Brennan would be playing the part of Judge Roy Bean, he tried to back out of the film, believing his character would be reduced to a relatively minor role, despite Samuel Goldwyn assuring him it wasn't the case. Cooper even wrote to Goldwyn "I couldn't see that it needed Gary Cooper for the part." Goldwyn, however, remained adamant about Cooper's contractual obligations and insisted that he star in the film. In a formal letter to Goldwyn indicating his intention to sever their future working relationship, Cooper agreed to fulfill his contract and to "perform my the fullest of my ability, with the express understanding that I am doing so under protest." Irony came to be it seemed.

Cooper and Brennan made such an effective team that they did a total of eight films together. They co-starred in The Cowboy and the Lady (1938), The Westerner (1940), Meet John Doe (1941), Sergeant York (1941), Pride of the Yankees (1942), and Task Force (1949). In addition, Brennan and Cooper appeared in The Wedding Night (1935) and Watch Your Wife (1926). Stay tuned!

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