Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gary Cooper and His Chimpanzee

Re: that photo of Sylvia Sidney and Gary Cooper. I have to keep convincing myself that it is Gary Cooper, because sometimes when I look at it, it just doesn't look like Gary Cooper. Now, in the movie (CITY STREETS) itself, there are lots of times when Gary Cooper looks just like Gary Cooper. In the publicity photo, his identity is not as easy to grasp. Why? Is it because we're not used to seeing Gary Cooper in profile? Is it because his eyelashes seem so long? Is it because Gary Cooper wasn't "Gary Cooper" yet in 1931, and the photographer missed out on what makes him "Gary Cooper"? The other day when I was looking for a photo of Gary Cooper in CITY STREETS, I came across one of Gary Cooper and (supposedly) his pet chimpanzee, though I suspect it was something cooked up by the studio to make him seem interesting for a fan magazine. There was something phony about the setup. Still, maybe you are asking yourself why on earth I did not supply you with a photo of Gary Cooper and his supposed pet chimpanzee. Well, there was something depressing about it. Sometimes photos of monkeys and/or chimps depress me, as you know. The chimp had a resigned look on its face. And it was wearing a diaper. So here instead is a frame of Sylvia Sidney from the movie, and it's a good one, but you're not getting the full effect. The shot starts with an extreme close-up on her eyes, then one closes, and then, as the camera pulls back, you see she has a gun, and finally you see she's at a carnival shooting gallery where Gary Cooper works, wearing a cowboy hat and looking a lot like Gary Cooper.