Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.
Tuesday, 9 April 2013
Coop in London, 1959
Gary Cooper, long a favourite of The Movie Projector, made his last 2 films in England, for director Michael Anderson, after that good run he had from the mid-'50s (FRIENDLY PERSUASION, TEN NORTH FREDERICK, LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON (though I don't care for it), MAN OF THE WEST, THE HANGING TREE, THEY CAME TO CORDURA) then THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE and finally THE NAKED EDGE, that rather dull thriller with a obviously ill looking star. (Cooper died in 1961, aged 60 - a pity he could not have gone on like Cary Grant or James Stewart, and made more important movies, like for Hitchcock, which would still be in view today. Same with Clark Gable, dyring at 59 in 1960).
THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE is still enjoyable now, from a Hammond Innes novel, scripted by Eric Ambler, about wrong-doing at sea, salvage and wrecking the ship of the title. Anderson as usual assembles an interesting cast (as in his same year's SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL and the later NAKED EDGE, OPERATION CROSSBOW etc) - here Michael Redgrave, Emlyn Williams, Cecil Parker, and the obligatory Richard Harris support Cooper and Charlton Heston (after THE BIG COUNTRY and just before BEN HUR). It is filmed mostly on boats and the the big courtroom scene in the second half, but there is an interesting moment shot on location at Waterloo Station with Cooper arriving there and taking a taxi to visit Virginia McKenna, the daughter of the late pilot of the wrecked ship. She is an airline hostess and has been provided with the perfect '50s basement flat, with bullfight posters on the wall and other '50s items. We see Gary exiting the station and it is interesting - well for me anyway, as I used that route for 11 years when I lived in Portsmouth and commuted to London every day. I remember the old station as it was then with the old cartoon cinema etc. It has been modernised since and is now the busiest station in London. Gary actually looks quite well here, he was such a fascinating man and reminds me so much of my father, or maybe my father was a Gary Cooper kind of man ...