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Friday, May 30, 2008

SERGEANT YORK (1941)

With typical wisdom, Hollywood gave Howard Hawks his sole Oscar nom for this verisimilitudinally challenged bio-pic about the country-boy pacificist who became WWI’s greatest war hero. Gary Cooper takes much of the curse off the project (who else is even thinkable in the role?), but little else rings true here. Arthur Edeson who shot the famous battle sequences on ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, was specially brought in just for YORK's war scenes, but his fine work only emphasizes the wild fluctuations in style & tone in the rest of the film. It was a phenomenal commercial success and Coop copped an Oscar, but Henry King, Frank Borzage or King Vidor would each have been better suited than Hawks on this one.

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