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The Westerner (1940)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance, Western  |  20 September 1940 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,264 users  
Reviews: 48 user | 16 critic

Judge Roy Bean, a self-appointed hanging judge in Vinergaroon, Texas, befriends saddle tramp Cole Harden, who opposes Bean's policy against homesteaders.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Title: The Westerner (1940)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Doris Davenport ...
Jane Ellen Mathews
Fred Stone ...
Caliphet Mathews
...
Wade Harper
Paul Hurst ...
Chickenfoot
...
Southeast
Lilian Bond ...
...
Hod Johnson
Charles Halton ...
Mort Borrow
Trevor Bardette ...
Shad Wilkins
Tom Tyler ...
King Evans
Lucien Littlefield ...
The Stranger
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Storyline

Cole Harden just doesn't look like a horse thief, Jane-Ellen Matthews tells Judge Roy Bean as she steps up to the bar. Cole says he can't take it with him as he empties all of his coins on the bar to buy drinks for the jury. He notices two big pictures of Lily Langtry behind the bar. Sure, Cole has met the Jersey Lily, whom the hanging judge adores, even has a lock of her hair. Hanging is delayed for two weeks, giving Cole time to get in the middle of a range war between cattlemen and homesteaders and to still be around when Lily Langtry, former mistress of Edward VII who became an international actress, arrives in Texas. Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Dangerous... Judge Roy Bean... who called himself "the law west of the Pecos"... the most dreaded man on the frontier! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 September 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le cavalier du désert  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was the third Oscar win for Walter Brennan, who won three out of the five best Supporting Actor Academy Awards. Despite being nominated the subsequent year for Sergeant York (1941), also with Gary Cooper, he was never nominated again in a very long career. See more »

Goofs

The town was named for George Langtry, an engineer and foreman who had supervised a Chinese work crew building the railroad, and not for the actress Lillie Langtry. See more »

Quotes

Judge Roy W. Bean: Are you an attorney, Miss?
Jane Ellen Mathews: I'm as much an attorney as you are a judge!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: "After the Civil War, America, in the throes of rebirth, set its face West where the land was free. First came the cattlemen and with them "Judge" Roy Bean, who took the law into his own hands, administering justice according to his lights. That he left his impress on the history of Texas is tribute to his greatness. Then into his stronghold moved another army, the homesteaders, who ploughed the soil, fenced in fields, to bring security to their wives and children. War was inevitable, a war out of which grew the Texas of today." See more »

Connections

Version of The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

A Perfect Representation of the American Psyche in 1940
11 May 2008 | by (Ronn Ives/FUTURES Antiques, Norfolk, VA.) – See all my reviews

"The Westerner" (1940): Directed by William Wyler, starring Gary Cooper and Walter Brennen. On one level, this is a classic tale of the Old West as it struggled through a transition of re-settlement. Depicted as such, it is a beautifully photographed, well acted, gritty, weird, funny, and emotional story. But, this film was also made in 1940. The Germans had begun their sweep across Europe, they were breaking treaties as fast as necessary, and non-militarized countries could not withstand the armed renegade country bent on following no rules but its own. To think that this was not on the minds of "The Westerner's" writers, directors, and audience, would be naïve. It's a perfect representation of current events in Europe, England, and America – as of 1940. (1941 would change that.) I found it fascinating from this perspective – watching it with something of the same gut level understanding that people in that time would have certainly felt. Cooper was the outsider who had no real attachments and wanted to remain isolated – keeping his freedom and avoiding entanglements. The town, run by despot Judge Roy Bean, made their own laws, convicted everyone in their way, and hung them without a second thought. The farmers were seen as an impediment to their expanding ideas which required more and more land and water. Cooper was drawn into the battle of ideologies, and attempted to become the ambassador aiming for peace, not war. He moved slowly, and lost the trust of everyone – until it was made very clear to him that the aggressors had no intention of honoring promises. It was time to take sides. It is PERFECT representation of that, and our (we, the Westerners), time.


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