THE WESTERNER (1940) B/W 100m dir: William Wyler
w/Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Doris Davenport, Fred Stone, Paul Hurst, Chill Wills, Charles Halton, Forrest Tucker, Tom Tyler, Arthur Aylsworth, Dana Andrews
Brennan is terrific as Judge Roy Bean in this fine western [written by Jo Swerling and Niven Busch], with Cooper playing a drifter who comes under the Judge's sentence.
From The Movie Guide: "Cooper was initially reluctant to take the part of the drifter, thinking it too minor for an actor of his stature. Director Wyler shamed him out of that attitude, though, with a variation of the 'no small parts, only small actors' bit, and he gave Cooper enough good scenes to make the actor happy. It is Brennan who steals the picture, making Judge Roy Bean one of the most unforgettable characters ever seen in a western film, researching his character and adopting a neck dislocation to represent an injury the historical judge incurred when he was hanged and cut down. Cinematographer [Gregg] Toland's work is superb, filling his western skies with gnarled trees and amazing clouds, and underscoring the story with a strangely somber tone. The score by [Dimitri] Tiomkin was completely scrapped at the last minute and a new one written by Alfred Newman, though he did not receive screen credit. Dana Andrews and Forrest Tucker made their debuts here."