7.5/10
4,328
56 user 21 critic

The Westerner (1940)

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

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Jo Swerling (screenplay), Niven Busch (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

at Amazon

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gary Cooper ... Cole Harden
Walter Brennan ... Judge Roy Bean
Doris Davenport ... Jane Ellen Mathews
Fred Stone ... Caliphet Mathews
Forrest Tucker ... Wade Harper
Paul Hurst ... Chickenfoot
Chill Wills ... Southeast
Lilian Bond ... Lily Langtry
Dana Andrews ... 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:

Outlawed! But fighting for an empire! Era of flaming feuds and new frontiers! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Western

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 September 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le cavalier du désert See more »

Filming Locations:

Green Valley, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Cole Harden: Don't make a move, Judge. I'm comin down to get ya.
Judge Roy W. Bean: Come a-shootin.
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 »

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User Reviews

 
Bravo, Brennan!
2 August 2009 | by kenjhaSee all my reviews

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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