The Cowboy And The Lady

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THE COWBOY AND THE LADY—-quite pleasant light comedy from 1938 finds bored rich girl Merle Oberon going on a blind date outing with her maids (back in the days when bored rich girl movie folk did dizzy things like that) , ending up in love with rodeo rider Gary Cooper, the guy she’s linked with on the fateful night out.

Boy meets girl, loses her, gets her back, rich & tricky vs. poor & proud—old plotting made fun by the likability quotient of the stars and the comic timing of their supporting foils: Patsy Kelly and Mabel Todd, Walter Brennan and Fuzzy Knight.

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Well produced, with Samuel Goldwyn laying out $1,500,000, it’s sensitively scored by Alfred Newman, smoothly directed by H.C. Potter.  An Oscar winner for Sound, nominated for Score and Song (“The Cowboy And The Lady”).  91 diverting minutes, with Henry Kolker, Harry Davenport and Berton Churchill.  It came in 65th for the year, not faring as well as Coop’s other showings in Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (15th) and The Adventures Of Marco Polo (31st).

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For such a slight film, it burned up a truckload of typewriters: Sonya Levien & S.N. Berhman get credit for the screenplay, from a story by Leo McCarey & Frank R. Adams. Pitching in were another thirteen smarties, including Dorothy Parker, Anita Loos, Robert Ardrey and Lillian Hellman. Sam Goldwyn may have garbled his own syntax, but he summoned sufficient clout to command a platoon of the sharpest wordsmiths of the day.

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