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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
According to the New York Times review of the film on 25 October 1940, it opened at the Radio City Music Hall the night before, more than one month after the national opening on 20 September 1940. No reason was given for the apparent delay. Their credited cast list also is identical to the one in the AFI Catalog, including the character name of "Burt Cobble" for Dana Andrews. However, Variety's cast list has Andrews' name correctly as "Hod Johnson," so there is still a mystery concerning which are the original credits. See more »
The farmers were portrayed as having filed homesteads to acquire their land in Texas when, in reality, there were no homesteaders in Texas. Because Texas, an independent republic, joined the Union in l845 with full statehood status from the beginning and never went through territorial status, there was never any federal government-owned land in the state to be open under the Homestead Act. See more »
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 »
This film focuses on the relationship between Judge Roy Bean and a stranger who rides into his town against the backdrop of conflict between homesteaders and cattle men. While Cooper has one of his best roles, Brennan steals the film in a marvelous performance as Bean that brought him his third Oscar in four years. Cooper and Brennan have great chemistry, and the film is at its best during the earlier parts when the two are engaged in witty banter about Lily Langtry, the actress than Bean is obsessed with. Davenport, who would make only one other film before retiring at age 23, is fine as Cooper's love interest. As usual, Wyler's direction is impeccable.
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