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THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES
Cooper teamed with director Frank Capra
for a second time in 1941's MEET JOHN DOE, a depression-era story about a
newspaper columnist (Barbara
Stanwyck, with Cooper at right) who launches a populist political
movement when she convinces a homeless man (Cooper) to pretend he plans to
committing suicide as a protest against current economic and social
conditions. Although the script contains a lot of sermonizing in
parts, MEET JOHN DOE makes its point in an entertaining manner and earned
an Oscar nomination for its original story.
Also in 1941, Cooper received his second Academy Award nomination
and his first Oscar for his performance as real-life World War I pacifist turned
Medal of Honor winner Alvin C. York in Howard Hawks'
biopic SERGEANT YORK (1941). Also starring
Walter Brennan and
Joan Leslie, SERGEANT YORK
received an incredible 11 Oscar nominations and carried an important pre-World
War II message about the need for the United States to get involved in the
already-raging European conflict.
Re-teamed once again with director Howard Hawks
and leading lady Barbara
Stanwyck, Cooper's third blockbuster of 1941 was yet another Brackett-Wilder
comedy, though this time one in which Cooper's character fell more in line with
his established screen personality. In BALL OF FIRE, Cooper plays
Professor Berttram Potts who, with his fellow lexicographers Oskar Homolka,
S.Z. Sakall, Tully Marshall, Leonid Kinskey,
Richard Haydn, and Aubrey Mather, is writing a dictionary. Realizing they
don't have a very good grasp on modern slang, the professors bring in burlesque
dancer 'Sugarpuss' O'Shea (Stanwyck)
to help them learn the new lingo, but they soon find themselves in trouble with
her boyfriend Dana Andrews and the mob.
Screwball comedy at its finest, BALL OF FIRE earned four Academy Award
nominations, including one for
In yet another successful wartime biopic of an American hero,
Cooper played baseball legend Lou Gehrig poster from
Samuel Goldwyn's THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES
(1942), directed by Sam
Wood and co-starring Teresa
Wright and Walter Brennan. Cooper received
the third of his five Best Actor nominations for
this classic screen romance which is consistently ranked among the greatest
sports movies of all-time and is also one of my favorite films.
Resuming his success as a literary hero, Cooper starred opposite Ingrid
Bergman in FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS (1943), directed
by Sam Wood and based
on Hemingway's novel about American mercenary Robert Jordan fighting
against the facists in the Spanish Civil War. Cooper received his fourth Best
Actor nomination for this role, one of the nine the film received.
In his second teaming with THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES
Wood and Teresa
Wright, a romantic comedy called CASANOVA BROWN (1944), Cooper plays a new
father who steals his newborn baby in an effort to prevent his ex-wife from
putting it up for adoption -- an entertaining 1940s look at "Mr. Mom."
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