Great Americans #7 Gary Cooper

Gary Cooper died relatively young at sixty years of age, six days after his birthday, on the 13th May, in 1961.

This was nine years after a sensational understated starring performance in High Noon, the immortal anthem to individual moral courage in the face of criminal danger.

Cooper won both the Oscar and Golden Globe for best actor for his haggard unwavering demeanour in High Noon.

The American Film Institute named him the 11th best male star of Hollywood’s Classic Cinema. The Academy gave him.a lifetime achievement award in 1961.

High Noon has always been one of my favourite movies, ever since I first saw it on television in my early teens. Half a century ago.

When Frank Miller, a criminal who had vowed to kill Kane, is headed back to town on the midday train on Kane’s wedding day, Kane tries and fails to rally the support of the terrified towns people. Marshall Kane tells his predecessor:

“I’m having trouble getting deputies.”

Former Marsall Martin Howe explains in response:

“People got to talk themselves into law and order before they do anything about it. Maybe cos down deep they don’t care. They just don’t care.”

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

Nothing’s changed.

Geoff Fox, 13th May, 2023, Down Under

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