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William A. Wellman
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With Gary Cooper I've always marveled at how when sound came along he had a voice that perfectly matched the characters he was playing in westerns. It was deliberately planned that his first all talkie film was that first of pulp western novels, The Virginian. This film Nevada is also taken from a western novel written by the best in that genre, Zane Grey.
As the subtitles are flashed for Cooper's character your mind clicks on to the voice you know so well from sound films. That is also true of William Powell who plays the villain, his voice is also a familiar one as well. Two stars who thrived when talking pictures came around, although Powell never played villains in sound films the way he did in silents.
Gary Cooper and sidekick Ernie S. Adams are a pair of roughneck cowboys who after a narrow escape from the law decide that maybe they ought to go straight. In the new town they arrive in they save Englishman Philip Strange from a beating and he hires them for his ranch, specifically to keep an eye on his sister Thelma Todd.
Which is a job Cooper learns to love, but not love William Powell who is another rancher, the richest one around and who also likes Todd. Powell is also the secret leader of a gang of rustlers who has been plaguing the other ranchers for years. It's why he's the richest guy around.
Nevada was remade twice, once with Buster Crabbe and later with Robert Mitchum in Cooper's part. It's not a great western, not near the standard of the westerns Cooper later made, but it's entertaining enough. It's also the only time you'll see two screen icons, Cooper and Powell in the same film.
Nevada is in bad need of restoration, the print I saw was barely watchable at times. Calling Steven Spielberg.
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