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A hillbilly sharpshooter becomes one of the most celebrated American heroes of WWI when he single-handedly attacks and captures a German position using the same strategy as in turkey shoot. Written by
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Alvin C. York had been approached by producer Jesse Lasky several times, beginning in 1919, to allow a movie to be made of his life, but had refused, believing that "This uniform ain't for sale." Lasky convinced York that, with war threatening in Europe, it was his patriotic duty to allow the film to proceed. York finally agreed - but only on three conditions. First, York's share of the profits would be contributed to a Bible School York wanted constructed. Second, no cigarette smoking actress could be chosen to play his wife. Third, that only Gary Cooper, could recreate his life on screen. Cooper at first turned down the role, but when York himself contacted the star with a personal plea, Cooper agreed to do the picture. See more »
York is called Sgt by officer who receives his captured soldiers and by the French who give him a medal. In New York at the Waldorf, his uniform coat sleeves show a corporal's insignia. Later, in TN, he is wearing a Sergeant's insignia on his uniform sleeve. See more »
Therefore, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's.
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Perhaps when this comes out on DVD later in the year (2006), I'll enjoy this as I did when I first saw it on tape. Subsequent VHS viewings were nowhere as appealing at that first look, unfortunately. As most people know, this is the story of World War I hero Alvin York, who went from drunken good-for-nothing to solid Christian man and war hero.
Gary Cooper certainly was a great choice for the role. Few people in his era were better at playing modest, soft-spoken-but-manly heroes like "Coop." When "York" makes no apology for his 100 percent belief in the Bible, no one challenges him because he's earned the respect from all, believers and non- believers. Cooper's status as an actor helps make that all the more "believable." Sgt. York also gives one of the best examples of forgiveness I've ever seen on film.
Another nice feature of this movie is seeing Joan Leslie in the female lead. She was one of the most pretty and wholesome-looking ladies of her day. She's always a treat to see. Walter Brennan also is interesting, as usual, and in here plays a minister, which also was a surprise.
Much of this film was a surprise because I'm just not used to seeing on film things like true forgiveness, the hero citing Scripture, military officers shown in a compassionate light (letting York, with his pacifistic views, decide what he anted to do) etc. What a shame so few films in the last 50 years have had similar values.
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