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The Cowboy and the Lady will never be listed among the top features of
either Gary Cooper and Merle Oberon's careers, but it has a unique
place in Hollywood lore. Supposedly producer Sam Goldwyn came up with
this title and then set about hiring the creative title to fashion a
story and then a film from it. Not the usual way the creative process
flows even in Tinseltown.
Merle is yet another rich girl who's bored living in her mansion because politically minded dad, Henry Kolker who's running for president. This budding Theodore Roosevelt doesn't want an Alice on his hands, he keeps Merle on a tight leash. Even after she gets busted in a nightclub raid with her fun loving uncle Harry Davenport.
When two of her maids go out on a double date with a pair of traveling rodeo cowboys, Merle goes along because the cowboys have a third and she hits the jackpot because the third is Gary Cooper. Of course Merle pretends to be a third maid.
Anyone who saw even a couple of thirties screwball comedies knows exactly how this one is ending up. Director H.C. Potter borrowed rather liberally from Frank Capra, there are elements of Mister Deeds Goes to Town and It Happened One Night in the story.
Still it's a pleasant enough piece of fluff and sure didn't do anyone's career any harm who was associated with it. Look for good typecast performances from Patsy Kelly and Mabel Todd as the maids and Walter Brennan and Fuzzy Knight as Cooper's rodeo buds. They all perform strictly to type.
A modern fairy-tale in the tradition of Cinderella and Snow White. This
movie has aged well and should be easily absorbed by today's audience.
you think of it, that is a hallmark of Gary Cooper films. He is the
everyman, the themes are simple and timeless.
Cooper is in typically good form in this movie, and so is his beautiful and delightful co-star Oberon. The film is loaded with humor, romance and a touch of social commentary. A must see for fans of Cooper, Oberon, Jimmy Stewart or Frank Capra. A perfect "date" movie. One of my most favorite films. Hidden gem.
"The Cowboy and the Lady" starring Gary Cooper and Merle Oberon was
written after Sam Goldwyn thought up the title - so it's the reverse of
the usual process. It's a 1938 film about a wealthy, sheltered young
woman (Oberon) whose father is about to announce his candidacy for
President. One night, she slips out for a night of fun with her uncle
(Harry Davenport). When her name is discovered on a list of people who
were in attendance at a club during a raid, she is sent out of town so
her father can say she wasn't in town at the time. Since her name is
Mary Smith, it could easily be another person.
While on her vacation, Mary meets a tall, gorgeous hunk of man - a cowboy named Stretch Willoughby (Gary Cooper). As any red-blooded woman would do, she falls for him. It's young Gary Cooper. He's a hottie. To put them in the same class, she says she's a maid. Before she knows it, she's married to him.
The stars are very good in the film, as is Harry Davenport as the uncle with a twinkle in his eye. Cooper and Oberon are darling together - he's so tall and broad-shouldered and she's beautiful and petite, and they have a nice chemistry. When she first asks him about himself, Stretch answers with Cooper's famous "Yep" several times. Parts of the film are a little slow but it's a nice romance. I realize some people think it's a preposterous love story but I can see any woman, rich or poor, flipping out for Gary Cooper and any guy falling for Merle Oberon. They were, after all, two of Hollywood's great beauties.
Gary Cooper is fantastic in this movie. He is one great actor who gets you laughing on the floor! This is a really good romantic movie! It makes people believe that true romance is possible between a man and a woman, even if they are from very different backgrounds.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Though slow moving at times, overall "The Cowboy and the Lady" is an
entertaining romantic comedy with a twist, a high society lady whose
father is about to throw his hat into the ring as a candidate for
President falls head over heels in love with a rodeo cowboy. There are
two scenes that really pack a comedic wallop. One is aboard the ship
from Florida to Galveston, Texas, when 'Stretch' Willoughby (Gary
Cooper) compares horses to people while wooing Mary Smith (Merle
Oberon) when suddenly a crew member starts singing an outlandish song,
"Give a man a horse he can ride." It becomes more outrageous when
Stretch joins in and Mary ends the tune with a bass vocal.
The other is when Stretch pretends to be entertaining his beloved wife, Mary, in their new house with only the framework completed. Cooper shows a hidden talent for pantomime that is very good indeed. Before he knows it his partners played by a bow-legged Walter Brennan and Fuzzy Knight along with the carpenters are invited in and play along with Stretch's fantasy. The spell is broken with the appearance of Ma Hawkins who brings everyone back to reality by delivering a dreadful telegram.
There is one telling part near the end when Stretch searching for his wife appears as an unwanted and unwelcome guest at a political dinner. The big-wigs spout several false concepts and prejudices that exist concerning the American cowboy. Their ignorance is further denoted when Oliver Wendell Henderson attempts to show his knowledge of the west by declaring Montana to be the Lone Star State. Stretch carefully corrects Henderson, then proceeds to shoot them all down with his rebuttal.
There were several cooks sirring the broth when it came to writing the sometimes witty script. Amongst the writers were Dorothy Parker, Leo McCarey, Anita Loos, and some say Garson Kanin.
I saw this film as a teenager about 20 years ago,and its always remained one of my favourite romantic films.you can easily get lost in the beautiful locations this film is set in.The story is a simple one,with no confusing plot,so you just watch it for the beautiful chemistry between the two stars and the sweet storyline.It shows that films made during this era were far more romantic than that of today,they had lots of innocence about them,today they are handled a bit to heavily and you cant feel as sensitive towards them.I don't really think this film dates at all,i think this film can still be absorbed by a modern audience,as the film is basically about opposites attract which everyone can relate to .And also the two characters are just timeless,their different personalities really compliment each other,i do love this film.
I love this movie for several reasons, the plot, the acting and the beautiful cinematography. There are beach scenes and others that have a dreamlike, gauzy quality that I really love. Gary Cooper is the naive but cute cowboy and Merle as Mary the wealthy socialite who tries to hide it from him. She doesn't mean any harm, she's lonely and isolated and finds herself in an awkard situation that gets worse quickly. Don't miss Walter Brennan as his sidekick (as usual) and the other fun characters throughout this sweet and fun movie.
I saw this movie recently on TCM and for the most part, loved it!
I liked the shy, bumbling character of "Stretch" and the sheltered, Mary who fell hard for him.
Of course, being sheltered, she was limited in her experience with men.
But fortunately, she fell hard for a man with character and who loved her truly.
I knew that when she lied and misrepresented herself that she would be caught.
I especially loved the night when they married. It was a sweet throwback to an earlier time when single ladies weren't in single men's rooms at night or any time for that matter! It wasn't proper in 1938. It was very sweet and romantic for Stretch to propose marriage. His search for a wife was over!
Here are my slight criticisms:
Also, unsure if I can believe that his REAL name was "Stretch".
Then, there are the scenes where Mary was at the rodeo cleaning up. She became filthy and her dress was torn as a result.
I would think that she could have had her maids send her some clothes or wire her some money so she could purchase some clothes and toiletries. Or even ask her new husband to purchase her some clothes. There was a scene where she attempted to purchase some pants but was interrupted by the phone call. Why didn't she or Stretch purchase clothing and toiletries for her she before she boarded the bus?
Even rich ladies have to bathe and look presentable. A rich lady with her background wouldn't travel on the train for 3 days in a filthy, torn dress and unwashed. Suppose her dad and his friends had ALREADY arrived when she got there? How would she explain her appearance?
Also, the scene in the framework of the house lasted a little too long, in my opinion.
But other than that: I enjoyed this movie! Gary and Merle were great in the leads!
This film has about as far-fetched of a plot as you can find: a Presidential candidate's wily daughter goes on holiday, takes company with a brooding young cowboy and eventually marries him. Without a doubt, this film is a curio, but is still watchable for the performances of two of my favorite actors, Oscar-winner Gary Cooper and Oscar-nominee Merle Oberon. Won the Academy Award for Best Sound.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched this movie for the first time on what used to be a great
channel AMC when I was about 10 years old. At the time, I thought old
movies were silly especially black and white ones. I had all the
stereotypes down and hated westerns most of all. After seeing this
movie I was hooked on old movies, and watched AMC religiously, but
never saw this one again until last year when TCM premiered it on their
Is it the greatest storyline ever told? Umm,no. I think a lot of people miss an important line to make it seem more plausible. Mary Smith grew up on a farm with her father and uncle until her father decided to get into politics for whatever reason. She even makes a comment to him early on that she wished they could go back to those days before she even met Stretch. Thus making it more realistic that she wouldn't miss the rich life.
The pantomime scene is the best scene and stuck with me for years. What a man in love will do.
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