Thursday, 14 October 2010

Best Actor 1943: Gary Cooper in For Whom The Bell Tolls

Gary Cooper received his fourth Oscar nomination for portraying Robert Jordan who helps the Republic side during the Spanish Civil war.

For Whom the Bell Tolls, is a semi epic war film that is much too long, and has many problems, even though I must admit I was not entirely bored well watching it.

Robert Jordan is an American who has come over to help the republic side in the Spanish Civil War. He is a man in command of his situation and fully aware of what he has to do. I will say that Gary Cooper is an actor I have a minor problem with automatically is that his voice can simply be too soft at times. It is just his voice, but I fell it does not always command as much presence as it should. In this performance Cooper is suppose to be rather commanding as Jordan, and his voice usually keeps me from fully believing his command in some of his other performance. Still though this is not automatically true for this performance.

I said it before and I will say it a second time Gary Cooper is an actor who is best when he is not talking. This not meant to be really a negative remark, I just find that he really is truly silent actor in many ways, since he conveys the most with his face and his eyes. Jordan is a man of few words and this work very well for Cooper. I do believe his command completely actually when he is just showing it through the way he stands and the way he looks at others. His ability to show this through his fully makes up for his voice completely for me. His voice still seems a little too soft, but I feel Cooper this time uses his physical command very well.

Most of the film Jordan is just trying to get the job done despite having to deal with an odd group of guerrillas and their odd former leader Pablo (Akim Tamirof). Cooper keeps Jordan in command at all times and that works out just fine for the performance, Jordan is a man who simply never really loses his cool. His romantic scenes with Maria(Ingrid Bergman) are rather odd though because Bergman and Cooper take such widely different approaches in these scenes. Cooper keeps it subtle and calm, while Bergman gives one of her needy emotional type performance. I think Cooper is actually more effective in these scenes because he remains far more subtle conveying truer emotions than Bergman with her obvious display of emotion. I think Cooper is actually weakened a little bit by her performance actually, but I think he still stays very effective.

Cooper's performance I expected not to really like at all, partially due to his huge failure as Sergeant York, but here I was pleasantly surprised actually. He stays a strong presence throughout the film, and he has some truly great scenes because of the power of his silent facial abilities. He really shows much more than I expected because of this, and made his character a little more complicated than I expected. Cooper is weakened by the other actors and the film itself, but he still has good scenes.


dinasztie said...

What did you think about Ingrid Bergman?

Louis Morgan said...

I thought she over did it here.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought both turn in career downers here - of course, I'm not a fan of either.