Re: Gary Cooper movie info request. (Peter Ibbetson but not The Fountainhead)

From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: rec.arts.movies.past-films
Date: Tuesday, December 16, 1997 5:53 PM

In article <#biIKbCC9GA.198@upnetnews04>, I wrote:
> Gary Cooper's character refusing to change his architectural plans does not
> occur in "Peter Ibbetson," but all of the other elements named are common to
> both films ["Peter Ibbetson" and "The Fountainhead"]. Cooper's rhapsodic
> speeches about the value of architecture is
> so similar in both films as to be eery.

In article <19971214035400.WAA11539@ladder01.news.aol.com, filmgene@aol.com (FilmGene) responded:
> Sorry, David, but initially Cooper "refuses to change his architectural plans".
> The fact that he later relents does not change the fact.

Through the "miracles" of videotape and the fast-forward button, I've determined that neither my earlier recounting of this scene nor Gene's was correct, and that the truth is in a third version.

Cooper's character does refuse to compromise his design, but he doesn't relent. He does refrain from saying anything when the wife of his client states that he has succumbed to her design, but this silence seems to come from his desire to appear a gentleman.

What follows is a summary of the pertinent material:

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The client's wife states that she wants an addition to the existing stable that will be merely a new, second building matching the present. Architect Cooper tells her that he had acted upon his understanding that an entirely new stable be built using part of what's there. She tells him to do it her way.

Cooper: I can't do it,… because I don't like it… . Because I can't do anything that I don't like.

He subsequently has delivered to her a sketch showing the stable animals reacting with pleasure to his design

LATER:

Husband to Cooper: You're going to build out stables?

Wife: Yes, indeed he is, and he's decided to do them my way. (Pause) Haven't you?

Cooper says nothing.

Fade out/fade in to: a montage showing first a 3D model made from Cooper's sketch, then construction of the full-size realization of it.

Amidst the sawing and transport of lumber, Cooper points to something on the blueprint and asks the wife, "Will this be all right?" She cheerfully nods approval.

LATER:

Wife: The work's nearly finished, isn't it?… and very nice too, thank you, sir… . You've been very patient with me, and my stupidity.

LATER:

Husband: As for you, Mr. Ibbetson, you're to be congratulated… . I notice that they were finally built your way.

Wife: Oh yes, yes, I can see now that I was quite wrong about them.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The inability of two fans of the film to remember its detail is something of a testament to its quality. It so eloquently evokes a dreamworld atmosphere, an alternative reality, and so touchingly conjures up memories of childhood love (at least it did in me) that disagreements and conflicts between characters seem evanescent while under the spell of the film.

-- David Hayes

 

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