Gary Cooper and Marlon Brando Collections

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Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

#1 Post by Matt » Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:40 pm

DVD Answers has news from Universal concerning collections for Gary Cooper and Marlon Brando:
Universal has today also announced a Gary Cooper Collection which includes Design for Living, Peter Ibbetson, The General Died at Dawn, Beau Geste and The Lives of a Bengal Lancer. Each of the films will be presented in 1.33:1 full frame along with English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono tracks. English, French and Spanish subtitles will also be provided. As far as we know, no extra material will be included as part of the set. You'll be able to own this two-disc set from the 31st May, priced at around $26.98. The artwork hasn't yet been released I'm afraid, but we'll do our best to bring you that very shortly. Stay tuned for that.
Notice: that's Ernst Lubitsch's Design for Living.
Universal has today announced a four-film Marlon Brando Collection which includes releases of The Night of the Following Day, The Ugly American, A Countess From Hong Kong and lastly The Appaloosa. Each of the films will be presented in anamorphic widescreen along with English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono tracks. The two-disc set will also carry theatrical trailers for each of the films, although The Night of the Following Day will also include an audio commentary with Director Hubert Cornfield. You'll be able to own this set from the 31st May this year, and you should find it retailing at around $26.98. Universal hasn't yet released the official package artwork for this one, but we'll do our best to bring you that very shortly.

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htdm
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 3:46 am

#2 Post by htdm » Fri Feb 11, 2005 1:40 am

Lives of a Bengal Lancer, Beau Geste, The General Died at Dawn all together?

There is a god!

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justeleblanc
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:05 pm
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#3 Post by justeleblanc » Fri Feb 11, 2005 3:10 am

That's pretty obnoxious that the Cooper box set wont be sold separately. I'd love to get Design for Living, but I don't want to have to buy the whole set just to have it.

Universal has DVD box sets all wrong. It was tolerable with the Marx Brothers, but now it's just obnoxious.

filmfan
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#4 Post by filmfan » Fri Feb 11, 2005 5:19 am

Cheesy Brando collection.

Oh well...lets hope something comes out on bootlegs.

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GringoTex
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:57 am

#5 Post by GringoTex » Fri Feb 11, 2005 10:00 am

filmfan wrote:Cheesy Brando collection.

Oh well...lets hope something comes out on bootlegs.
I'm not sure you could put together a lousier grouping of four Brando films than those.

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Brian Oblivious
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#6 Post by Brian Oblivious » Fri Feb 11, 2005 8:39 pm

JusteLeblanc wrote:That's pretty obnoxious that the Cooper box set wont be sold separately. I'd love to get Design for Living, but I don't want to have to buy the whole set just to have it.
At this price, you can think of it as "Design For Living with a bunch of extras I'll never watch".

But then I hold great affection for Beau Geste too so of course I'm not complaining.

Martha
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#7 Post by Martha » Fri Feb 11, 2005 8:49 pm

Countess from Hong Kong?! For the love of god, why? Reading about that one as a Brando-obsessed kid (it's scary how much Guys and Dolls determined the course of my life-- ah, the power of Marlon and Frank), even I could tell it was a big piece of poo.

Martha
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#8 Post by Martha » Fri Feb 11, 2005 8:51 pm

Also, the Cooper set is discussed here.

Michael Strangeways
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#9 Post by Michael Strangeways » Sat Feb 12, 2005 4:52 pm

ohmigod!!! Universal is actually releasing some of its Paramount material!! I'm shocked, and hopeful this means some Wilder/Leisen/Sturgis and more Lubitsch are on the way!!!

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

#10 Post by zedz » Thu Jul 06, 2006 12:10 am

I picked this up recently, mainly on the strength of the passionate rave by some forum member (come out, come out, wherever you are!) about the glories of Peter Ibbetson. So thank you, whatsisname.

What a find! One of the headiest Hollywood movies of this or any other era. I was completely hooked even before the mind-bending third act. The film has some of the most eloquent visuals I've seen: stunning sets and lighting, and a sublime, emotionally-motivated moving camera throughout. It reminded me of an American Cocteau (with extravagant production values).

The script and performances are highly stylised, but work beautifully once you immerse yourself in them, and Cooper's characteristic stiffness is perfect for the character and mood. And that final section must be one of the wilder things ever countenanced by a major studio.
SpoilerShow
The final third of the film is devoted to a shared lucid dream that goes on for decades while, back in the 'real' world, nothing happens - our heroine is paralysed with grief and our hero is paralysed with a broken back.
That conclusion is certainly attention-getting in its oddity - and the delivery of it is as spectacularly odd, romantic and visionary as the conception - but even before that the film is continually visually arresting and emotionally compelling.

When the Cooper collection was announced, Design for Living seemed to be the key title for most people here, but I think Peter Ibbetson is much richer and stranger, and well worth the price of the set.

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Steven H
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#11 Post by Steven H » Thu Jul 06, 2006 12:45 am

Zeds I loved Peter Ibbetson out of that set as well (and all the Hathaway noirs Fox put out last year weren't bad either). It seemed to hail from poetic realism more than any other 30s Hollywood film I've seen (though, I'd love to hear more recommendations to prove that wrong.)

The set is surely worth the meager price payed (there's certainly no "Countess from Hong Kong" among them.) I think I heard about this film from Narshty (not sure where), originally, so that might be to whom you should say thanks.

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Gregory
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#12 Post by Gregory » Thu Jul 06, 2006 3:29 am

zedz wrote:Cooper's characteristic stiffness is perfect for the character and mood.
Seeing the film for the first time, I didn't find this to be the case at all. I'd be interested if you care to elaborate. Perhaps one way of conceiving of the character is that his outward rigidity is complimented by such a powerful world of fantasy in his dreams, but there are consequences to this in how effectively the romance was established leading up to...
SpoilerShow
the moment when Peter kills the duke.

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zedz
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#13 Post by zedz » Sun Jul 09, 2006 7:41 pm

Gregory wrote:
zedz wrote:Cooper's characteristic stiffness is perfect for the character and mood.
Seeing the film for the first time, I didn't find this to be the case at all. I'd be interested if you care to elaborate.
I don't know if you disagree that Cooper is stiff, or that the stiffness suits the character and movie, but I'll elaborate anyway.

I find Cooper an odd performer. As frequently noted, he's got a great physical presence on the screen, and he can move beautifully, but his dialogue delivery often strikes me as halting and odd, and there's also sometimes a physical mismatch between him and the other actors - almost as if he doesn't quite relate to the other characters on the same plane (he's an Iconic Movie Star amongst Actorish Actors). This 'aura' can be utilised to brilliant effect if the director addresses it properly. Mann obviously knows exactly what he's doing with Cooper in Man of the West, and it's a completely different performance than he would have gotten out of the more flexible Jimmy Stewart, and von Sternberg 'gets' Cooper in Morocco (it helps that he's moving in similarly Iconic company, of course). I'm probably in the minority, but I find Cooper quite at sea in Design for Living trying to put across a character quite different from his screen persona.

Back to Peter Ibbetson. Here, I find Cooper's stiffness quite appropriate for the emotionally stunted, painfully formal character. After all, his supposedly sinful relationship with the Duchess is in fact utterly chaste, even idealised and pre-sexual. His inviolable air of rectitude (maybe that's the problem I have with Design for Living) is just right for both the almost abstract, fairy-tale romance and the wronged-man third act. And Cooper's utter seriousness inoculates the film from the real risk of silliness or sleaziness.

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david hare
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#14 Post by david hare » Sun Jul 09, 2006 8:23 pm

Hmm - I used to think of Coop's vocal delivery as one-dimensional, and his physicality stiff, but I've completely changed my mind.

Take a look at these four pictures:

Morocco - perfectly captured both physically and in performance by a director who broke all the rules for performance and dialogue in just his second sound film and whose responsiveness to male grace and beauty is as attuned as his response to women. (Ditto the Von's superb use of Mature in Shanghai Gesture);

General Died at Dawn - in which Coop is totally at ease in a far more verbally direct and assertive role;

the Fountainhead in which Coop inhabits the central space, with Neal, of Vidor's hyperreality, throughout which he triumphantly manages the often impossibly declamatory speeches. What other actor could have done it as well?

And of course Design for Living - Coop seems to completely understand the gay subtext of the relationship, with March as the "producer".

These days Coop seems to me to belong in the celestial company of Grant, Mitchum and Ryan.

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zedz
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#15 Post by zedz » Sun Jul 09, 2006 9:00 pm

davidhare wrote:Hmm - I used to think of Coop's vocal delivery as one-dimensional, and his physicality stiff, but I've completely changed my mind.

Take a look at these four pictures:

Morocco - perfectly captured both physically and in performance by a director who broke all the rules for performance and dialogue in just his second sound film and whose responsiveness to male grace and beauty is as attuned as his response to women. (Ditto the Von's superb use of Mature in Shanghai Gesture);

General Died at Dawn - in which Coop is totally at ease in a far more verbally direct and assertive role;

the Fountainhead in which Coop inhabits the central space, with Neal, of Vidor's hyperreality, throughout which he triumphantly manages the often impossibly declamatory speeches. What other actor could have done it as well?

And of course Design for Living - Coop seems to completely understand the gay subtext of the relationship, with March as the "producer".

These days Coop seems to me to belong in the celestial company of Grant, Mitchum and Ryan.
I haven't watched The General Died at Dawn yet, but The Fountainhead seems to me another example of a director making the most of Cooper's stiffness. After all, it is a superhero movie.

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david hare
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#16 Post by david hare » Sun Jul 09, 2006 9:51 pm

It's an unchallengeable masterpiece of American cinema. Nothing else like it, even within Vidor's impressive canon. Of course the three of them - Coop, Neal and Massey (surely this his best performance) become ubermensch way beyond the fascist triteness of Rand's book, to some exalted level of human - for once I agree with David Thomson about this movie being transcendentally beautiful and mysterious. Adn WHERE's the fucking DVD?

But I no longer see Coop as "stiff". Certainly Vidor uses his body as a phallic object in scene after scene (the quarry etc.) But in Lubitsch, Milestone, Borzage (Desire) and Sternberg the DPs and directors endow him with a supple "lightness", and so on,. What Im getting at is his screen persona is a complex interaction of "stiffness", grace, ranged and shaded vocal delivery, underemphasis, directness.

I was actually reminded very much of Cooper by Elias McConnell in Gus' "Marais" episode from Paris je t'Aime. After first noticing his flawlessly worn gravity in Elephant and the rhyhmic deliberation of his physical movements. Such a rare quality in a performer.

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#17 Post by BrianInAtlanta » Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:09 pm

I'll have to get this for Peter Ibbetson that entranced me as a child. Not only did the French Surrealists champion the movie (for obvious reasons) but I also forgot Ann Harding was in it. I've developed a serious jones for her from her pre-code work where she was allowed to be sexy instead of the ur-Greer Garson she was to become.

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Gregory
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#18 Post by Gregory » Sun Jul 16, 2006 2:47 pm

zedz wrote:I don't know if you disagree that Cooper is stiff, or that the stiffness suits the character and movie, but I'll elaborate anyway. ...
Here, I find Cooper's stiffness quite appropriate for the emotionally stunted, painfully formal character. After all, his supposedly sinful relationship with the Duchess is in fact utterly chaste, even idealised and pre-sexual. His inviolable air of rectitude (maybe that's the problem I have with Design for Living) is just right for both the almost abstract, fairy-tale romance and the wronged-man third act. And Cooper's utter seriousness inoculates the film from the real risk of silliness or sleaziness.
Sorry for the ambiguity. I meant my agreement that Cooper can tend to be stiff to be apparent by suggesting that he may have been quite appropriate for a character that is "outwardly rigid" but who finally finds an outlet for his passions in a "powerful world of fantasy in his dreams." My reaction was that the tone of Cooper's acting makes it difficult for him to convincingly portray someone who is hopelessly, despairingly in love. But having only seen the film once (and not having read the novel) it's likely that I wasn't fully taking into account the character's lack of emotional development.

filmfan
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#19 Post by filmfan » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:42 am

To me, Cooper is of a special "school" of acting where there is something on a visceral level going on, that makes it so GOOD it seems like he isn't acting.

The thing is there is NO school of acting like this...it's just a natural gift that comes very natural, and these type of actors just communicate on a different level than "normal people".

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david hare
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#20 Post by david hare » Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:12 am

Coop's even more incredible than that!

During Fountainhead and the completely absurd courtroom scenes (I mean "absurd" in a stylistic sense) he DOES appear to act, until you wtach it for the third and fourth time. Then you start to notice, breathing, cadencing, phrasing, pauses, melismata (changing rhythms) - it's totally astounding. (He's basically reading the text dialogue from the completely absurd Rand novel and he makes you believe everything in it.)

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