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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth picking up - "I promise you!"
This great collection brings together a couple of Cooper's genuine classics with three less-remembered films on two double-sided discs.

It tends to be forgotten that in the 30s Cooper was as much a romantic idol as an action hero, and in the right film was surprisingly at home with sophisticated comedy. Design For Living is at least 70% delightful before the...
Published on 14 Sep 2010 by Trevor Willsmer

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11 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 cary cooper films
Please note. The five films in this collaction are not in color but B/W.
Also the films are not on five discs but on two double-sided discs.
Published on 7 July 2007 by Colin E. Willson


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth picking up - "I promise you!", 14 Sep 2010
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Gary Cooper Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
This great collection brings together a couple of Cooper's genuine classics with three less-remembered films on two double-sided discs.

It tends to be forgotten that in the 30s Cooper was as much a romantic idol as an action hero, and in the right film was surprisingly at home with sophisticated comedy. Design For Living is at least 70% delightful before the film starts to take the implications of its plot more seriously in that traditional third act downer that most comedies feel obliged to offer to build up the rallying finale. But that 70% is so superb that I could forgive it anything, with the American stars giving Coward's words a more natural reading than the usual arch and stilted overplaying they're often treated to on the stage, allowing them to be funny instead of clever for once. It's also pleasingly amoral, with everyone getting the girl at one time or another and Miriam Hopkins making no secret of her own lust for Gary Cooper and Frederic March. Quite a pleasant little surprise.

The General Died at Dawn is both the best and worst of the Golden Age system. It's superbly staged by Lewis Milestone, is reeking with atmosphere and has some terrific dialogue from Clifford Odets. Gary Cooper makes some odd choices but does some great work, Madeline Carrol is photographed like Dietrich at her most luminous and all the stops are pulled out to make the film a visual treat. But on the debit side, the Western actors playing Chinese don't convince and after a great first third, the film gets increasingly farfetched until it's completely absurd finale, which defies both logic and any form of credibility, even of the Hollywood variety. Still well worth a look, though you might find your attention drifting the further it goes along. If you do, watch out for a neat cameo from writer John O'Hara in the dining car scene as a journalist you can buy "for a bag of oats."

The Lives of a Bengal Lancer is perhaps best seen as a dry run for Gunga Din, with a similar set-up and resolution, but little of the charm and fun. The first few reels are awkward at best, and it takes a long time to warm to its soldiers three (even Cooper seems mean and unpleasant for much of the film). Once it does, it's an enjoyable enough effort, though light on plot and action. But it's not a patch on William Wellman's Beau Geste, even if its trio of American leads never lose their accents despite being raised as children in an upper class English family. It goes surprisingly light on Sergeant Markoff's notorious training techniques, but it's a terrific adventure movie that's perfectly staged with some real visual imagination by Wellman. Pretty much the jewel in the crown in the set (which is rounded out by the romantic fantasy Peter Ibbetson), it's well worth picking up - "I promise you!"

The only extras are trailers for The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, Beau Geste and Peter Ibbetson, but all five are good transfers.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth it if only for Design for Living and Beau Geste, 14 Feb 2008
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gary Cooper Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
The Gary Cooper Collection is a mixed bag. It contains near perfect examples of sophisticated sexual comedy (Design for Living) and rousing adventure that combines nobility, sacrifice, villainy and action (Beau Geste). Trailing them is the high spirited but erratic Lives of a Bengal Lancer, which also features a fine performance by Franchot Tone. Then bringing up the rear are The General Died at Dawn and Peter Ibbetson. Cooper is not a good match for Design or Ibbetson, but he shines in Geste, Lancers and, despite the corny dialogue, General. The price is right even if you only want Design for Living, Beau Geste and Lives of a Bengal Lancer. As much as I like Beau Geste, Design for Living is the one that for me takes the prize. Since, unlike Geste, it now is almost forgotten, it's the one I'll talk about.

There's no doubt about what's going on in Design for Living, a delightful high comedy about a ménage a trois, written by Noel Coward as rewritten by Ben Hecht and directed by Max Lubitsch...and it's not hanky panky. No, it's just joyous, straightforward sex.

When two artists, the painter George Curtis (Gary Cooper) and the playwright Tom Chambers (Fredric March), encounter Gilda Farrell (Miriam Hopkins) on the train to Paris, their 11-year friendship is going to be intriguingly tested. Gilda (with a soft "g") captures them both, and she reciprocates but can't choose. And why should she? She moves in with them. There's only one solution, however, to the inevitable problem. "Boys," she tells them "it's the only thing we can do. Let's forget sex." And with that, of course, neither they nor we can.

Ben Hecht often bragged that only one line of Coward's survived in his screenplay. All I know is that Hecht's words are some of the finest and funniest, as well as the most amusingly realistic, you're likely to find in a high-gloss Hollywood comedy. The movie just barely got in under the wire before the Production Code began to enforce the prude's code of morality on America. Lubitsch and Hecht create a sophisticated world in which going to bed with someone you like is as natural as...well, going to bed with someone you like. There's no leering or innuendo in the movie, just a reliance on the sophistication of the audience. For instance, Gilda explains to Tom and George the differences between how men and women sort things out. "You see," she tells them, "a man can meet two, three or four women and fall in love with all of them, and then, by a process of interesting elimination, he is able to decide which he prefers. But a woman must decide purely on instinct, guesswork, if she wants to be considered nice." The point we're aware of with a smile is that Gilda not only is nice, but smart, and that she's already tested the waters with each of them.

We start the movie with a ménage a trois, but one which turns into a duet with George and then a duet with Tom. After some encounters with business versus art, we all come to our senses and enjoy the sight of Gilda, George and Tom reunited in New York with a plan in mind. "Now we'll have some fun," Gilda says happily. "Back to Paris!" I have a feeling that forgetting sex won't be part of the plan for long.

The frisson of a bi-sexual ménage a trois is substantially toned down by Lubitsch and Hecht. While it wasn't explicit in Coward's stage play, one would have to be deaf and blind not to get the subtext, especially with Coward and Alfred Lunt as the two male leads when the play opened. In the movie, however, this just becomes inconsequential speculation, especially with Gary Cooper and Fredric March in the roles. Cooper manages not to embarrass himself in this highly polished comedy of sex and style, but it's clear that what works in Cooper's favor are his looks, not his line delivery or body language. March and Hopkins, however, are completely at ease and are a joy to watch.

Hollywood wouldn't make movies this adult and amusing until the Fifties, and even then the level of sophistication and respect for the audience, in my opinion, never fully recovered. Every now and then it's possible to come across in pre-Code Hollywood films of such mature pleasure you hope others will like them, too. Says one character in Design for Living, "Immorality may be fun, but it isn't fun enough to take the place of 100 per cent virtue and three square meals a day." How wrong he was...and is.

Design for Living is one of the five films packed onto two discs from The Gary Cooper Collection. It looks fine, just as the others do.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gary Cooper one of the great actors of his day, 25 Feb 2013
By 
Mr. A. G. Suddaby (ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gary Cooper Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I just love Gary and the film print is good
Great Film Pack and good value for money.
And is great entertainment and good story line.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Garry Cooper Super Dooper, 10 Jun 2014
This review is from: Gary Cooper Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Brilliant collection of Garry Cooper films. Absolutely delighted with this purchase. Can't wait to watch them all over again. Thank you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 15 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Gary Cooper Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
1st class all round
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11 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 cary cooper films, 7 July 2007
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This review is from: Gary Cooper Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Please note. The five films in this collaction are not in color but B/W.
Also the films are not on five discs but on two double-sided discs.
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Gary Cooper Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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