The Movies go to War
November 27 SERGEANT YORK (1941) 2 hrs and 14 min.
A hillbilly sharpshooter, Alvin York [Gary Cooper] becomes one of the most celebrated American heroes of World War I when he single-handedly attacks a German position using the same strategy as in a rural turkey shoot. Based on the life of a real-life war hero.
The real Alvin C. York was approached several times to allow a movie to be made of his life, but refused, believing that "This uniform ain't for sale." He was finally convinced that with war threatening in Europe (World War II), it was his patriotic duty to say yes. So he agreed, with three conditions: his share of the profits would be contributed to a Bible School; no cigarette-smoking actress could be chosen to play his wife; and only Gary Cooper could recreate his life on screen. Cooper at first turned down the role, but when York himself pleaded, Cooper agreed to do the picture. He won an Oscar, and in his acceptance speech said, “It was Sergeant Alvin C. York who won this award; Shucks, I've been in this business sixteen years and sometimes dreamed I might get one of these things. That's all I can say! Funny, when I was dreaming, I always made a good speech." As he left the stage, he forgot the Oscar on the podium.