Celebrities And Their Fascination With Socialism

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Gary Cooper Plays the lead in ‘Sergeant York’ 1941; a role that set the stage persona of a quiet unassuming man overcoming great odds for good to triumph over evil, an identity that made Cooper the most popular box office actor of the 30′, 40’s, and 50’s.

In the movie ‘High Noon’, Cooper portrays an aging marshal with a young bride, an old nemesis has been released from prison and is arriving by train with his gang to kill him; he must stand to face death alone against all odds, relying on principle and justice, because the town’s people and his bride have deserted him. The film has been considered to be one of the most artistic films of all time and one of Cooper’s greatest achievements.

The theme song to ‘High Noon’

Do not forsake me O my darlin’ On this our wedding day. Do not forsake me O my darlin’ Wait, wait along. The noonday train will bring Frank Miller. If I’m a man I must be brave And I must face that deadly killer Or lie a coward, a craven coward, Or lie a coward in my grave. O to be torn ‘twixt love and duty! S’posin’ I lose my fair-haired beauty! Look at that big hand move along Nearin’ high noon.

Celebrities and artists seem to have an overwhelming majority of people who are Socialists and fervent Communist sympathizers, it’s undeniable, but it is a reasonable question to ask why? Most of us have theories that are rarely expressed; yet the true reasons might be found in the testimony of an American icon.

Gary Cooper’s testimony before the House Panel on un-American Activities:

Several years ago, when communism was more of a social chit-chatter in parties for offices, and so on when communism didn’t have the implications that it has now, discussion of communism was more open and I remember hearing statements from some folks to the effect that the communistic system had a great many features that were desirable. It offered the actors and artists — in other words, the creative people — a special place in government where we would be somewhat immune from the ordinary leveling of income. And as I remember, some actor’s name was mentioned to me who had a house in Moscow which was very large — he had three cars, and stuff, with his house being quite a bit larger than my house in Beverly Hills at the time — and it looked to me like a pretty phony come-on to us in the picture business. From that time on, I could never take any of this pinko mouthing very seriously, because I didn’t feel it was on the level.

Was it all a lie? Cooper didn’t always live up to the images he portrayed: yet, how many of us would falter at the prospect of beautiful women throwing themselves at us continually, Clara Bow, was hopelessly in love with him as were Lupe Velez, Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, Ingrid Bergman, Tallulah Bankhead, Grace Kelly and Anita Ekberg? Rocky, his wife, from old east coast money, ignored the affairs, but other than the occasional stumble in matters of matrimonial fidelity, Cooper had an excellent reputation as the understated Montana cowboy. What reasons would he have to exaggerate the influence of Communism within the theater world? Why did he refuse to name these Communists? Did he balk at condemning colleagues as Communists?

Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are lost in the myth of Hollywood and the unpopular HUAC hearings; unfortunately, Hollywood now appears deeply immersed in the Socialist movement. Is there a special place among the Elites of a Communist Utopia for celebrities?

Unquestionably , celebrities have influence over a huge segment of the population. It is an inverse equation: they have the most influence with the least erudite among us and the least influence with the more erudite. Thus it is in the interests of the Left to dumb down the public education system and use celebrities as a tool to swing public opinion. At least in Gary Cooper’s era, he was willing to swear under oath that they were offered “a special place in government where we would be somewhat immune from the ordinary leveling of income.”

Sean Penn the valiant knight for the downtrodden puts his mansion on the market for $15 million.

It offered the actors and artists — in other words, the creative people — a special place in government where we would be somewhat immune from the ordinary leveling of income. And as I remember, some actor’s name was mentioned to me who had a house in Moscow which was very large — he had three cars, and stuff, with his house being quite a bit larger than my house in Beverly Hills at the time — and it looked to me like a pretty phony come-on to us in the picture business.

How petty and selfish are these celebrities to sell out America for vague promises of a secure place among the Elites of a Communist society? Surely they are for from the altruistic individuals who try to pass themselves off as having higher moral values than the rest of us.

Hollywood is infamous for blacklisting Communist sympathizers after these hearings. Obviously they were concerned with their image and hoped to purge their ranks of undesirables.

Cooper represents the almost mythical American embodied by the Montana cowboy, values that we seldom see these days; he was the American cowboy tall, lean, with integrity and dignity, the embodiment of middle class American values.

Since Cooper’s death from lung cancer in 1961, the America of the old traditions of independence, patriotism, quiet dignity, honesty, and integrity has been eroding away. Gone is the strong, quiet man who will stand against impossible odds for those who can’t help themselves in a just cause against evil: now, integrity has been replaced by admiration for those who can milk the system with deceit and lies, while patriots are considered to be fools, con-men and opportunists are the new heroes. Justice is becoming a reward for the biggest lies and fraud perpetrated against the government and public in the name of social justice and infringement upon civil liberties that would be considered laughable in the past.

Now that America has elected a Black version of Forrest Gump without the speech impediment, America longs for the quiet assurance of a Gary Cooper type to inspire confidence once again.

A few comments gathered from You Tube:

Yep, nice looking……he and Ian Tyson. It’s a shame today’s guys haven’t figured out that women still love a rugged looking guy in a nice wide brimmed hat! And I’ll take a tight pair of Wranglers over baggies any day!

I’d have to say Gary Cooper is the most handsome man I’ve ever had the pleasure to view and there are quite a few , but he is very much the absolute ultimate beautiful movie star, I think River Phoenix is also in that league of the absolute ultimate beautiful movie star, but he lived only 23 years, I’m sure he would’ve remained a handsome man, like Gary did- Rest in Peace Gary and River.

His lips are gorgeous!!!

I couldn’t have said it better.

His lips are pure perfection.

OMG, those lips!.

Gary Cooper was without a doubt one of the finest American’s he was modest. a gentleman, and one hell of an actor. He had a sense of humor and he had no airs about him. He was truly Montana’s finest..

I love Gary Cooper! He was one nice looking man. I love his movies. A great video!

Epilogue: As a boy, I went to the movie house during our infrequent trips to town, at least if there was a western showing. Gary Cooper’s movies transported me to another dimension and made me sit taller in the saddle when I was back home. Yes, he was my boyhood hero.

For those with charges of racism to throw about, it has been estimated that after the Civil War, one in five cowboys were displaced Blacks from the plantation system: a fact that has unfortunately been ignored except in western parodies and comedies.

A professional horseman for over 40 years, Skook continues to work with horses. He is in an ongoing educational program, learning life's lessons from one of the world's greatest instructors, the horse. Skook has finished an historical novel that traces a mitochondrial line of DNA from 50,000 years ago to the present. It goes to the copyeditor next month.

34 Responses to “Celebrities And Their Fascination With Socialism”

  1. 1


    Sergeant York was a very good film (for its time) about a great American hero. Worth watching. Alvin York almost single handedly killed 28 enemy soldiers and captured 132 others. Cooper got the Best Actor Oscar.

  2. 2

    Gayle Miller

    A dear friend of many years grew up in Hollywood. His father owned the first foreign car agency in the Los Angeles area. Gary Cooper bought his Duesenberg from my friend’s father. Frequently, my friend’s father would get phone calls late, late, late at night to come pick up the Duesenberg from one address or some other address and take it back to the car lot because Gary Cooper didn’t want the newspapers to catch on to where he was spending the night!

    I always loved that story and believe it to be true.

    My friend used to go to a movie theatre on Hollywood Boulevard with his cousin when they were in elementary school for the Saturday matinee which usually featured 4 or more shortish Westerns. There was a sign at the box office that said “Check your weapons here” which my friend and his cousin dutifully did; they neglected to fess up to the 6-shooters lodged in their cowboy boots. They’d go down to the front row and shoot at the screen nonstop. Nobody ever sat next to them and they could never figure out why. My theory is that it was the sardine sandwiches they brought for their lunches!


  3. 4



    Gayle, at the age of three I deserted my parents in the middle of a movie to run home for some weaponry, I made it outside before my dad caught me. I had over forty miles to go in the 30 below, that was a big story for a long time.

    Later on, I was allowed to attend Saturdays all day with many other kids while packing my two cap pistols; although, I had to surrender my caps and get a mean stare from the manager on numerous occasions. If you shot the cap pistols at just the right time, you could get a bad guy now and then.

  4. 6

    oil guy from Alberta

    I cannot understand how actors who portray the salt of the earth become the salt that poisons the earth. Hollywood is ripe with hypocracy and most of their movies are garbage.

    Wesley Snipes gets 3 years for tax evasion and starts his time next week. Charlie Rangel hides a villa in Central America and breaks 10 other house rules and gets censure. Pelosi beats him with a wet noodle and the top tax rule fabricator says that he was hard done by and elicits the help of God. I wonder what will happen to Maxine Waters when she has to face a Republican Congress in the new year? More hypocracy- bet on it. They protect their own.

  5. 8


    When I was teaching American history in China two years ago, I showed two representative Western films to my two classes. One was “High Noon” and the other was its exact opposite “Rio Bravo” with John Wayne. We had several discussions on the two movies as they dealt with American perceived culture.

    Howard Hawkes, director of Rio Bravo, felt strongly that High Noon was one of the worst Western movies ever made and was very anti-American in its portrayal of the Western mythos. In fact, he made Rio Bravo as an attack on High Noon and what it represented. Any comments after checking out the following websites?






    And there are a lot of other websites that delve into these two movies.

    What was the conclusion of the Chinese students in Communist China concerning these two movies?

    Do some thinking about the points made in the websites and if you can, watch both of the movies and see what you think.

  6. 9


    “For those with charges of racism to throw about, it has been estimated that after the Civil War, one in five cowboys were displaced Blacks from the plantation system: a fact that has unfortunately been ignored except in western parodies and comedies.”

    I was born and grew up in Oklahoma. In fact, as a child, my family lived about three miles or so from the original “Wild West Show” headquarters – the 101 Ranch. Overlooking the small town in which we lived (Marland, OK population 212) was a mound with a monument on top in honor of White Eagle, chief of the Ponca Indians. I spent a lot of time with my brothers climbing and exploring around this hill. In the second grade, I came upon a small tombstone near the large monument that had inscribed on it the name of Bill Pickett, Cowboy. Never heard of him but it was an exciting find and I began to search for books about the Ranch and this Picket guy.

    I think it was in the fourth grade that I wrote a paper about Bill Pickett. He was a very famous black cowboy in the 101 Ranch Wild West Show. I won’t go into detail here but, his abilities and his stories will take your breathe away.


    Basically, he invented ‘bulldogging” as we call it today. He would ride next to a bull, jump on its head and clamp his teeth onto the bulls lip and – well, you just have to read about it to understand. He was acknowledged by all cowboys young and old to be the very best. THE REAL DEAL.

    I got an A on that paper, BTW.

  7. 10


    CHill, thanks for the story. I read of Pickett as a boy and frankly, I had to read the material over and over, because it seemed so far fetched. The dogs that he watched bring bulls down had to be pit or pit/Catahoula crosses. Those are the only ones that I’ve ever seen or heard of accomplishing this feat. To compare a man’s bite to one of these dogs is beyond imagination. That is why I was so fascinated with Bill. Those old cowboys were men of iron.

    To have found his grave as a boy is quite an honor.

    I have met many men who rode with the 101 or were born on the ranch. It is another fascinating story I’d forgotten.

    As a small boy, the drama within High Noon was lost on me and the gun play was much too short for my tastes in those days. I do remember being shocked at the town’s people and their cowardice. When Cooper threw the badge away, I was in a state of shock. Then I realized, why would you care to take care of people who let you down; once the danger was over, so were your responsibilities, the perfect time to show contempt and leave. I remember thinking I might have done the same thing. Real life isn’t always poetic; actually, it is seldo poetic.

    The director was supposedly a Communist sympathizer, but unless he wanted to demoralize the American public and the spirit of pathos within the community of the American West, I don’t see the connection. Apparently John Wayne, a friend of Cooper, hated the movie; perhaps this is the reason he had such vitriol toward the movie.

    I don’t remember Rio Bravo, except that I wasn’t impressed with the story line and I thought musical westerns were a crime against nature, Unfortunately, I don’t have time to watch the movies at this time and I haven’t seen either one in 40 years.

    Thanks for your contribution, but please elaborate on the Chinese students’ reactions to the movies.

    Congratulations on the A.

  8. 11


    Small world CHill, I’ve spent a lot of time in those parts.

    As for the movies, no, they certainly don’t make them like they used to. As a dedicated amature photographer, my mind boggles at the lighting in the old black and white films. Aside from carrying the wrong rifle (Sgt. York actually carried a US made Enfield rather than the venerable 1903 Springfield as I understand it), that film truly captured the innocence of our country at that time.

    I’ve read that the current ubiquitous “Bullseye” target was created because young American recruits fresh off the farm could not bring themselves to shoot at targets shaped like men. A far cry from today’s generation’s attitude from the films they grew up watching and video games they play. We may not have as many marksmen today, but overall, I think we have a very lethal generation of wariers. Entertainment doesn’t just reflect the society, it absolutely help to shape it.

    It really used to grate on me that my grown son spends so much time playing war games on the internet. . . until I figured out he is playing with the other guys from his guard unit. So, how much difference is there between the video games of today and the training simulators of a few years ago?

  9. 12


    I watched High Noon as a child with conflicting reactions. Cooper drew me into the story even though it was only a story. My first reaction was to not understand why he was protecting a bunch of people who didn’t deserve protection. Then I understood as a boy, that a man had to always do the right thing or he couldn’t live with himself and be a man. During my life, I have been placed in situations where I had to do the right thing even though the personal consequences were quite uncomfortable. I hope I was successful.

    The personal values demonstrated by Cooper in High Noon as well as many of his films were characteristic of society of the time. Those men and women of the “Greatest Generation” had little to give except themselves. The won a world war not only through combat, but the women back home selflessly scrimped and saved while they manufactured the materials their loved ones needed to be successful in war. I remember finding balls of rubber bands and tinfoil in my mother’s belongings when she died. The “Greatest Generation” was of the modern era.
    Soon after WWII, intellectuals and activists seduced us into the postmodern age where communal values count more than personal values. In this era, a deformed society is responsible for individual behavior. Rapists are excused if they were abused in childhood. Laws are ignored when people like Charlie Rangel is slapped on the wrist for crimes against society for which others would be prosecuted.

    Many of the children today have no respect for other children and little for adults. Why should they. Postmodern society preaches those individuals are always right. Youth sports leagues are encouraged to no keep score because someone may feel like they lost. Many in society think it is only fitting that the assets of those who worked hard should be evenly distributed to those who didn’t make the sacrifices or effort. As I am out here hunting, some individuals believe they have the right to trespass on private land to hunt, because others own more land than they.
    In High Noon, the role Lloyd Bridges played foreshadowed postmodernism. His concern was for himself even though he held a position of public responsibility.

    High Noon was a contrast between the greatest generation and the morass we have fallen into today. Postmodernism gave us subprime loans, Enron, judicial activism, political correctness in dealing with terrorist and a multitude of other issues that have caused our country to experience the current crisis.

  10. 13


    I just spent the last two hours trying to find High Noon and Rio Bravo. Got too many movies from the three years in China. I am going to find them, watch them and then review the course that I taught in China to refresh my memory. DVDs in China were about 5 Yuan (6.7 Yuan to the dollar) so I used a lot of them to teach various courses, Also taught a course called American History and Culture at the Catholic university here in Thailand. It was almost all movies where I assigned students movies to watch in their own time and then blogged them as they related to the area of interest. I divided American history into sections: Colonial, Independence, Pre-Civil War, Civil War, Western Expansion, Industrialization, WWI and 1920s, Great Depression, WWII and Post War America. Did not have a lot of time to deal with Vietnam but we have a few movies on it.

    Will search for the two movies, watch them again and then make some comments as it related to China. Rest assured, China and the Chinese are totally different than what the average American thinks. China is not a monolithic political entity but actually nine distinct regions all autonomous depending on 1) closeness to Beijing 2) military importance 3) economic importance. If a Chinese lives outside these three areas, he or she has quite a bit of freedom to include more than one child. Many of my students had brothers and sisters and quite legally.

    For example, Beijing does not get involved in Yunnan, Gueizhou or Guangxi provinces. These places pretty much write their own laws or can stretch or refine as they see fit. They are very poor with very little resources so – the communist do not mettle so much there. Sichuan, where I lived, is rich and has loads of resources and a huge food supply. The provincial government toes the line. When the government says 60 is max for foreigners to work, Sichuan follows closely (my university put some pressure on to keep me the additional two years). Probably would not have been able to do it for a fourth year.

    A friend in Guangzhou who started with me in Sichuan taught until he was 70. He ended up staying in the area and marrying a Chinese girl so he could stay longer. He had known her since his time in Sichuan.

    Anyway, looking for the movies because I remember seeing some things I missed the first two hundred and thirty two time I watched them.

  11. 14


    Did I just read something comparing River Phoenix to Gary Cooper??!! As I generally read Flopping Aces around breakfast time, I consider such grotesque notions utterly unfair to my digestion. Next, I suppose, will come the comparisons of Sean Penn to John Wayne or George Clooney to Errol Flynn. In future, please place “Pepto Bismol” alerts at the beginning of such articles. Anyhow it’s quite interesting how modern day Hollywood sophists embrace Communism for the “little people” as they collect their 20 million dollar paychecks for a month or so of work on film. I wonder when Barbara Streisand and Steven Speilberg will sell all they have and divide the proceeds among their flyover-country comrades?

  12. 15


    CHill, you still haven’t answered the question of what was the Chinese students reaction to the films. Please elaborate. Not all of us have the time to research the sites you recommended. Thanks.

  13. 17


    When you stop to think about it, many of the heroic figures of our greatest Hollywood westerns were taking a stand for social justice against dominating, amoral powers motivated by greed and blind ambition. The lone hero as a last-chance advocate of the interests of the common man is arguably one of the classic Hollywood western tropes.

    Maybe we should give some consideration to why that sort of story resonates so strongly.

  14. 18


    premium_subscriber, subscriber

    I loved watching Tyrone Power and Errol Flynn movies so I looked them up to see if they were involved in any of the isms.

    Power’s bio was quite interesting, in addition to being a very handsome actor, he put his career on hold and entered the Marines:

    In the early 1940’s, Tyrone Power’s movie career was interrupted by military service. In August 1942, he enlisted in the Marine Corps, starting out as a private, having refused his studio’s offer to get him an officer’s commission. Upon completion of boot camp training at San Diego, he was selected for Officer’s Candidate School at Quantico, where he was promoted to Second Lieutenant on June 2, 1943. Because he had already logged many solo hours as a pilot prior to enlisting in the Marine Corps, he was able to go though a short, intense flight training program at Corpus Christi, Texas, where he earned his wings and was promoted to First Lieutenant. Power served in the Pacific theater, with the VMR-352, carrying supplies aboard a R5C into the embattled Iwo Jima and carrying the wounded out, often under heavy fire.

    death and funeral:

    In September of 1958 Tyrone Power and his wife went to Madrid, Spain, so that he could begin filming the epic, Solomon and Sheba, to be directed by King Vidor. He had filmed about seventy-five percent of his scenes when, on November 15, 1958, he was stricken with a massive heart attack, as he was filming a dueling scene with his frequent co-star and friend, George Sanders. He died enroute to the hospital. Yul Brynner was brought in to take over the role of Solomon. The filmmakers used some of the long shots that Tyrone Power had filmed, and an observant fan can see him in some of the scenes, particularly in the middle of the duel.

    Tyrone Power was buried at Hollywood Cemetery, now known as Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California, at noon, on November 21, 1958, in a military service. (Tyrone Power had remained in the Marine reserves after his active duty was over. At the time of his death, he was a major.) The memorial service was held at the Chapel of the Psalms, Hollywood Cemetery, with Chaplain Thomas M. Gibson, U.S.N.R. officiating. The active pallbearers were officers of the United States Marine Corps. Honorary pallbearers were Charles Laughton, Raymond Massey, Tommy Noonan, Theodore Richmond, Murray Steckler, Cesar Romero, Watson Webb, Milton Bren, James Denton, George Sidney, George Cohen, Lew Schreiber, Lew Wasserman, and Harry Brand. Cesar Romero gave the eulogy, using in it a tribute written by Tyrone Power’s good friend and frequent co-star, George Sanders. Sanders had written the tribute on the set of Solomon and Sheba, within the first few hours after Power’s death. It read as follows: “I shall always remember Tyrone as a bountiful man, a man who gave freely of himself. It mattered not to whom he gave. His concern was in the giving. I shall always remember his wonderful smile, a smile that would light up the darkest hour of the day, like a sunburst. I shall always remember Tyrone Power as a man who gave more of himself than it was wise for him to give, until in the end, he gave his life.” Flying over the service was Henry King, who directed him in eleven movies. Almost 20 years before, Tyrone had flown with King, in King’s plane, to the set of Jesse James in Missouri. It was then that Tyrone Power got his first experience with flying, which would become such a big part of his life, both in the U.S. Marines and in his private life. In the foreword to Dennis Belafonte’s The Films of Tyrone Power, King said, “Knowing his love for flying and feeling that I had started it, I flew over his funeral procession and memorial park during his burial, and felt that he was with me.” Tyrone Power was laid to rest, by a small lake, in one of the most beautiful parts of the cemetery. His grave is marked by a unique tombstone, in the form of a marble bench. On the tombstone are the masks of comedy and tragedy, with a transcription from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as follows:

    There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow
    If it be now, tis’ not to come;
    If it be not to come, it will be now;
    If it be not now, yet it will come;
    The readiness is all. 1

    Good Night, Sweet Prince,
    And flights of angels sing thee to they rest.2

    Sigh, love him even more.

    Errol Flynn, kind of murky, he went to Cuba and personally knew Che and Castro, friendly terms and all but his daughter said he was a journalist. He just had some Cuban adventures and also wound up in the middle of the fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Real adventuresome guy:


    Excerpts of his diary:



    His son, Sean L. Flynn, was a journalist and was executed in Cambodia:


    Looks as though both Errol Flynn and his son were pretty brave and maybe it was journalism that drew the elder to Cuba. I know one could read several bios and each author may interpret his life differently. Only spending a few moments on the net, don’t know, can’t really tell, it’s not as in-your-face as what we get from Hollywood today.

  15. 20


    Sidebar … 3:10 To Yuma (1957 version … I’ve only seen the 2007 remake once and haven’t fully digested it yet to be true to the original) was and excellent story also.

    I recommend a wonderful movie by Cuban-American actor/writer/director Andy Garcia, “The Lost City”. In it he is a night club owner that is in the middle of the Che/Castro Revolution, and how it tears his affluant family apart … and the jab he makes at the ‘artist’ embracement of Communism not effecting them is priceless. Can’t help but believe Garcia was aiming the scene at his Hollywood peers.


    Also, Maria Conchita Alonso, also Cuban-American, has come out against the likes of Sean Penn buddying-up with Hugo Chavez and other Communist dictators. She too has openly thrashed her Hollywood peers for their commie admiration.

    Then there is Cuban punk rocker Gorki Luis Aguila Carrasco who lives in Cuba and has a band called “Porno Para Ricardo”. He openly and unabashedly criticizes the Castro regime, Communism, and those in the Western entertainment world who idolize it all. Gorki has been arrested and thrown in Cuban jail a few times, most recently the other day. He was released, but the government kept his band’s instruments.

  16. 21


    A friend sent me the link to this article because you used two of my videos (Western Hero, Every Girl’s Favorite Cowboy). I’m delighted that you liked them enough to include them here. The article was great and just spot on. We could definitley use more Gary Cooper’s: actors who can actually act unbelievably well and aren’t ashamed of their country.

    I hope you don’t mind but I’m posting the link to my Gary website. I have thousands of pictures and a lot of articles from old movie magazines from the 20s through the early 60s.


  17. 22


    Angie –

    As he became ‘big’ Kevin Costner was compared to Gary Cooper.

    With your accumulated knowledge on the man/actor, do you have enough awareness of Costner’s career to comment on that comparison?

    I know that during the Bush administration, when the entertainment industry had open season on Pres. Bush, most especially the stuff that had him assassinated, Costner reservedly spoke out against such negative material regarding any president, without committing himself to actually supporting Bush. As to his film work I can see some similarities to Cooper.

  18. 23


    premium_subscriber, subscriber


    Goodness, you have quite a collection, I just scrolled through the 20’s, amazing photos! Will bookmark, this will take time to peruse everything you have. Thanks for sharing!

  19. 24


    One of my favorite Gary Cooper western movies is “The Hanging Tree.” The cast included Maria Schell, Karl Malden and a young George C. Scott. I’m also a great Tyrone Power fan. I love all the historical costume dramas — “Prince of Foxes,” “Captain From Castile,” “The Black Rose” — as well as all the swashbucklers. But the West Point story “The Long Gray Line” is unforgettable. Errol Flynn was fun to watch, too. I especially enjoyed “The Adventures of Don Juan.” He had quite a comedic flare.

  20. 25


    High Noon versus Rio Bravo: A Chinese Perspective

    As I mentioned, I taught two classes at Southwest Jiaotong University – Emei Branch using these two movies to try to give the students an insight into American culture as developed and portrayed via film. I did not really know about these two movies until I taught these classes. I like them both very much. High Noon was the first movie ever filmed in real time. The clock on the wall is a central artifact in the movie and as the movie progresses, the clock moves at exactly the same pace as the movie. John Wayne, for me, is John Wayne. Even his lame movies are John Wayne entertaining. And, BTW, until I started teaching using film, movies were simply an entertainment for me. I refused to read movie critics and never watched any on TV. I watched movies strictly for their entrainment value and either was entertained or not. Movies, for me were of no value other than that. Of course, this changed when I began to teach pop culture to EFL students. There really is a lot going on in most of these movies that is easy to overlook. High Noon and Rio Bravo are great examples.

    Back to China and my Chinese students. I was six months into my contract when I submitted a request to teach a film-based American culture class. It was approved and made an elective course for the whole university instead of just students in my department (Department of Foreign Languages). I ended up having two separate classes with about 30 student in each and both in the evenings. My first class was what was called the Mao Class. These are engineering students (the university is an engineering university) who had aced their entrance exams and were the cream of the students. Mao! Yeh, I thought the same thing but it turned out this Mao was Mao Yisheng who was the first professor from the university who got his PhD from the US in 1919. Biggest name in engineering in China.


    The second class were just students who wanted to improve their English and were interested in American culture. The Mao class was really good and they probably got a lot out of the class. The second class was an EFL class with the exception of maybe ten, six of whom were English majors. Needless to say, the second class liked Rio Bravo much better because it was in color! Had a hard time trying to convince them of the message being presented. I doubt if one can sell BW films in China these days.

    I began the Western movies portion by explaining that all classic Westerns pretty much used the same theme. Hero is faced with a difficult situation that involves two bad choices. Both choices lead to bad results. Hero then chooses the course of action that represents what American values are all about. For example, Gary Cooper had a choice of leaving with his new Quaker wife or returning and doing his duty and complete his job. Same with John Wayne. Turn over the bad guy murderer, Joe Burdette, back to his family instead of standing trial or the town will be razed by the Burdette ranch gang. Both of the heros obviously make their choices based on the American value of honor, duty and always doing the right thing.

    As we watched each film, I pointed out the events that were important to focus on. For example, when Cooper runs around the town looking for help and how he is turned down by all and even the judge runs away. I also made sure they catch the interaction between him and his deputy (Bridges). When we watched Rio Bravo, the students then could see the differences and the messages that were being relayed.

    For example, people would volunteer their services to Wayne but he turned them all down because he was the trained professional and they would just get themselves killed. This became really obvious and the students got the message in real time – Rio Bravo is an anti-High Noon movie (At least my Mao students caught it very quickly)!

    So what was the feelings of the Chinese students? For the most part they all preferred Rio Bravo, especially when I told them that Ricky Nelson was probably the most important Rock and Roll singer in American history because he made it acceptable for people like Elvis and others. Remember this was little Ricky from Ozzie and Harriet! They also agreed that High Noon was, in fact, negative toward Americans in that it portrayed the average American as cowardly and without integrity, only thinking of themselves rather than the society in which they lived. Rio Bravo, on the other hand, portrayed what they thought would have been American values where the hero puts his life on the line to protect the society.

    The Mao students agreed that Rio Bravo was the better movie and portrayed what they felt were American values as described by online sources and their own feelings. Surprisingly, most of the students had a great appreciation for American freedoms. One student, however, tried to “teach” me about the current socialism with Chinese characteristics that had brought China to economic success. In most of my classes, I would usually have two or three students who had bought into the Beijing line of socialist China not a capitalist China. The other students usually looked rather knowingly at their fellow Moaist students. The majority of students I met all seemed to realize how ridiculous some of the propaganda coming out of the Beijing really was. This group of Chinese have more freedom than any group of Chinese in the history of China and they know it and appreciate it. Several of my English major students even made me feel like a liberal in their distaste for the current government. I always had to quiet them down for fear of being overheard (not sure if this was real or not) by other teachers. I tried to explain that they owned their own minds but they must always be careful all the time and to use common sense.

    China is not like anything we are taught or presented in Western society. BTW, many of my American friends living in the States began to call me Comrade because of the events I was experiencing. If you are interested, check out the following;


    When blogger was blocked last year I went to the following one:


    I have been a bit lazy since returning to Thailand so have a lot to add when I get inspired.

    Conclusion – Rio Bravo portrays American values much better than High Noon. Rio Bravo is one of the few movies with very few close ups done (a total of three). I also thought that Dean Martin proved he was a great actor in this movie as well. Do I think that High Noon was communist? Not sure that any director or producer worries about the politics more than how much the movie will gross. Money is always the bottom line.

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    Chill, thank you for your contribution. You are blessed to be living such a colorful life.

    I have no editorial responsibilities, but I will request a submission from you. I and I am sure many of the readers would like to learn more of the Chinese Communist version of Free Market economic theory, at least if it doesn’t compromise your standing. You are in a unique position to witness the evolution of an economic super power. Most of us can only wonder what is happening in China and Asia; however, you have obviously made the Orient your home and have a window of opportunity that is available to almost none of us.

    Most of the people who read this blog are anxious for knowledge both from an historical and current affairs viewpoint. Thus your insight into this great unknown called China will be appreciated.

    We, the authors, have talked of expanding our scope internationally, at least beyond Canada, so there is an opportunity for all of us.

    Thanks Again, Skook.

    I let my Red River grain cereal get cold, because I was so engrossed in your photos and details.

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    Angie, I watched all the videos and chose yours, they were well done, I commend you for your effort. You have done an excellent job with the web site: your efforts will help preserve a bit of history and culture for all time. Outstanding, outstanding indeed! Thanks from all of us who packed cap guns and wore western hats, and a few others!

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    Some of my fondest memories are of sitting in my immigrant Grandparents’ living room with my Grandpa, his filterless Camel cigarettes filling the room with a heavy fog (Ooops! And I and Grandma, and nobody else in the family never came down with cancer from his secondhand smoke), and watching western movies and western TV shows on their b/w TV. I sat on the ottoman next to his big comfy chair and waited for him to offer me hard ribbon candy or pecans from the tins he kept on the table on the other side of his chair. When the percolating Maxwell House commercial would come on the TV I’d jump up and dance to the jingle for him and Grandma, and they would laugh.

    When he came to the USA as a young teen from post-WWI Hungary he was notably disappointed to discover the USA was not a raging “cowboys and Indians” western movie, least of all Western Pennsylvania. But he and my Grandmother did find their “American” spirit in those westerns.

    The only time I ever saw my Grandfather ‘blush’ was when I told him how much he looked like Humphrey Bogart (one of his favorite actors). And he did.

    As to playing cowboys and Indians, I grew up in a neighborhood where my sisters and I were the only girls. Outdoor play always involved either WWII Americans vs Germans, or cowboys and Indians. We played in the woods near our homes until past dark. We built forts and tree houses. It’s what is sorely missing from children’s lives today.

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    premium_subscriber, subscriber


    Thanks for sharing! My grandparents owned a dance hall/tavern up in the bluffs in Romance, Wisconsin. My brother and I would spend part of our summer vacations with them. Grampa smoked unfiltered Lucky Strikes, I do remember that fog. 😉 The tavern was right next to their house, the house was once a mill that they refurbished, was such a neat house for roaming kids, they had 14 kids and the attic was filled with our aunt and uncle’s neat stuff we got to go look at once in awhile. It also had a small gas station tucked under it that my uncles ran, they even had candy bars. 😉 Across the street was a cattle yard, down the road was a grocery store that had wooden floors, our aunts would walk us down there for ice cream cones when we behaved. They had a ball diamond near the grocery store and a couple of houses, that was it.

    Grampa cleaned and opened in the morning and we were allowed to go into the bar area and pick out one bottle of pop and a candy bar each day then had to scoot. He didn’t know we also hit the uncles up. On Saturday nites he ran films on a screen in his parking lot, no sound, gramma made us pop corn and brother and I would watch them from the sun porch until we fell asleep. And, we also watched westerns on the b/w with my grandparents. Memories.

    We played cowboys and indians and made forts when at home and would drag everything that wasn’t nailed down to a woods that was about a quarter of a mile away from our home. Quite a few times we had to go back for hammers and my dad’s saw and he would get owly about his nails. Once I took my moms vegetable seeds and planted a garden in the woods and couldn’t understand why nothing grew. 🙄

    Now you can’t let kids have the range we roamed for fear some sicko might do something evil. Sad.

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    Some great stories in here! Thanks to CHill, Maggie, Missy, and all for sharing.


    What’s your perspective on Shane as it relates to your reflections on High Noon and Rio Bravo as reflective of the people portrayed in American society?

    There are no dangerous weapons…only dangerous men.”


    The only time I ever saw my Grandfather ‘blush’ was when I told him how much he looked like Humphrey Bogart (one of his favorite actors). And he did.

    Casablanca is probably my all-time favorite movie, if there is such a thing.

    Speaking of Bogart, I heard on the Medved Show yesterday Paul Kengor with a new book, I think called “Dupe”. He mentioned that at the end of his life, Bogart was a conservative who realized he was “duped” in his youth into having ties to communists. Quick Google search, I came up with this.

    I suppose just tantalizing speculations.

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    Yes, I think many Hollywood-ites back then seemed to think Communism was the way. Oddly, many had started from poor beginnings and had achieved star-power standings with studios and considerable wealth. Yet, they enjoyed the capitalist lifestyle and freedom and were convinced the Commie ideology would preserve that? Quite the contradiction. As your link points out Bogart apparently grew-up and saw the light.

    Unfortunately, today’s pampered, lack of talent, Hollywood-set think Marxism/Communism is some status symbol. And most of them came from what appears to be, for the most part, decent middle class upbringings.

    Had Grandpa known Bogart dabbled in Communism he would never have watched a second of his movies.

    Big Peace did a recent piece on Dr. Paul Kengor and the Hollywood commies/socialists:


    Big Peace: On the plus side, Hollywood had strong anti-communists.

    Kengor: Many of them. John Wayne, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper, Olivia de Havilland, Jimmy Stewart, Clare Boothe Luce, Edward Arnold, George Murphy, Barbara Stanwyck, Bing Crosby, Robert Montgomery, Adolphe Menjou, Ginger Rogers, Bob Hope, William Holden, to name a few.

    Of course, there was Ronald Reagan, who, truth be told, was once duped himself, but learned and emerged as arguably the greatest anti-communist. That’s a very interesting conversion I detail in the book.

    Hollywood was once a sane place. Today, its moral depravity is rivaled only by its political depravity.

    Fact is, whatever his tactics, Joe McCarthy was more right than wrong. And Hollywood was the least of the danger zones the Communist red wave had washed into in this country.

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    Thank you Maggie:

    Fact is, whatever his tactics, Joe McCarthy was more right than wrong. And Hollywood was the least of the danger zones the Communist red wave had washed into in this country.

    The Left still maintains the innocence of the Rosenbergs; despite the declassification of KGB records that name them specifically as Soviet spies responsible for leaking out secrets of the atom bomb. The list goes on for a thousand pages or more, but the Left believes if you tell a lie often enough and wash the kids brains in school with the lie it will be eventually accepted as fact. “Body of Secrets” a history of the NSA during the Cold War outlines the KGB documents and the Venona Cables. Fantastic reading if you are interested in the truth.

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    For all those Hollywood Celebs, it is very easy to be a SOCIALIST when having so much fame and fortune. Which means that they are totally out of touch with the REGULAR FOLKS !!!

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