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Only the Brave 1930
Description: Cooper is a Union Units officer who after being jilted by girlfriend, Virginia Bruce, volunteers on what should be a suicide mission. He volunteers to go behind opponent lines disguised in Confederate gray as a staff officer to Robert E. Lee. He's to ride to a certain plantation which is a local brigade headquarters and deliberately allow himself by caught with maps showing false Union troop dispositions. Of course the penalty then as actually is execution.
Released: 08 Mar 1930 Director: Frank Tuttle Writers: Edward E. Paramore Jr. (scenarist), Agnes Brand Leahy (adaptation), Richard H. Digges Jr. (titler), Keene Thompson (based on a story by) Actors: Gary Cooper, Mary Brian, Phillips Holmes, James Neill Genres: Romance, War
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Only the Brave Reviews:

This movie has an interesting beginning. It has a map of the US as it existed in 1860, and then zooms in on the deep south and shows farming there, then zooms in on Ohio and shows a farmer farming there, shows the lead up to the Civil War, and then goes back to the map with the edges of the old Confederacy ablaze. Then there is an odd close up of a mute General Grant writing a letter about how he hopes that the fight will be over in August. Maybe it was the general's massive drinking or optimistic thinking, but the fight did not end until April 1865. No explanation is ever given for this short scene.That is as about as violent as this movie gets. Gary Cooper plays Captain James Brayden who joins up with his Union units but has his four day leave abruptly cancelled. He decides to take his leave anyways as he desperately wants to see his girl, Elizabeth, played by an unrecognizable Virginia Bruce before her MGM days. Brayden risks his career only to see and hear his woman betraying him with other man, a stocky older fellow whom she tells she really loves. Since this fellow looks like a 40ish ver of Mr. Potato Head, I can only assume he is rich or Elizabeth has insanity in her family.Brayden rides back to the Union camp, where he has a rather mild punishment meted out to him for being AWOL, given his past exemplary record. Brayden suggests an alternative. His bunk friend is a young guy with everything to live for whose assignment is to cross into Confederate zone and be captured as a spy with the Confederate units lifting deliberately misleading notification from him. Of course, this also means he will be shot as a spy. Braden asks that he take the younger man's zone in the assignment. Coop doesn't really receive to present too much depth here, but the concept is that he actually distrusts all girls and feels like he has nothing to live for.The greatest part of the movie is the Virginia plantation where Brayden shows up, dressed as a Confederate soldier who is lost, trying to receive to Spotsylvania. Another Confederate units are encamped there, having a ball - literally. Apparently they didn't receive the memo that the Union units had sacked each plantation around central Virginia by 1864, because this looks like Tara in "Gone With the Wind" in 1860.Meanwhile, Brayden is constantly either trying to receive captured by dropping items that only a Union solder would have - items that tells USA for example, but no dice. Nobody suspects a thing. Then he tries to just plain receive shot by testing up to the daughter of the plantation owner (Mary Brian as Barbara Calhoun) who has the hots for him, and then insulting her, and rubbing it in the face of her trigger satisfied beau (Phillips Holmes). Again, Coop just can't seem to receive suspected, captured, or killed.When Brayden finally is suspected as a spy, as the Confederate troops chase him around the house, Barbara keeps saving him and hiding him, despite Brayden's protests. How will this all work out? Watch and search out.Because the cinematographer here either neglected to or should not do close ups, it is really difficult to receive a feel for what Coop or Mary Brian are feeling during the emotional or the humorous parts of the film. I'd tell this movie doesn't measure up on any scale to the previous year's "The Virginian" with the same two leads - Coop and Mary Brian - and seems like it was made quickly and rather carelessly just to money in on the chemistry they showed in that film. I'd give it a very mild suggestion to a general audience, but maybe a tiny stronger of a suggestion to those of you interested in the early talkies.


After the success of Gary Cooper's first all talking film, The Virginian, he and his leading lady Mary Brian were teamed again in a Civil Fight story, Only the Brave. Sad to tell the effects were not as nice as The Virginian.Only the Brave is the type of Victorian melodrama that was famous on the scene during the latter half of the 19th century. It was dated for the Depression era audiences when the movie first came out, allow alone for today's audience.Cooper is a Union Units officer who after being jilted by girlfriend, Virginia Bruce, volunteers on what should be a suicide mission. He volunteers to go behind opponent lines disguised in Confederate gray as a staff officer to Robert E. Lee. He's to ride to a certain plantation which is a local brigade headquarters and deliberately allow himself by caught with maps showing false Union troop dispositions. Of course the penalty then as actually is execution.Of course what happens is the plantation owner's lovely, crinolined, mushmouth drawling Mary Brian falls for Cooper, causing no tiny amount of jealousy with Phillips Holmes a most hot blooded southerner indeed. And Coop's charm is such that Brian falls for him as well.It now starts, only begins mind you, to receive funny as Cooper is trying to be caught and Brian keeps saving him. I think Red Skelton gotta have seen some of this for his soon film, A Southern Yankee.Personally I think the greatest performance in the movie is from an actor called William Le Maire who plays the sentry guarding Cooper after he's been caught and courtmartialed. He's one reluctant rebel who's very satisfied not to be in war as the rest of his company runs off to act on Cooper's false information. His scenes with Cooper are very droll and are the greatest in the film.Only the Brave will never be regarded as one of Gary Cooper's nice films. It does have its moments, but for the most part it's a terribly dated and old fashioned, movies that some my search quaint and some may search ridiculous.


Gary Cooper's second all-talking picture is a bit of a letdown after "The Virginian", but all the same it is nowhere near the turkey that contemporary critics seem to suggest. The director has obviously been hampered by early sound recording requirements: Enclosed in a glass booth, the camera not only restricts movement but imparts a soft focus result to the lighting. Director, Frank Tuttle, has been forced to rely on extremely long and largely static takes. Nevertheless, he has managed to break up many of the scenes, and has even used reverse angles once or twice. However, beyond the montage of stock footage with which the film opens (and which, of course, is obviously silent material), most modern audiences will probably not search the movie particularly dated. Fortunately, as the film is a period piece, no- one will take exception to the costumes. Like many early sound films, there is too much dialogue and too many sound results simply for sake of sound effects. Fortunately, there is also a bit of action and even some wryly amusing moments as Cooper tries desperately to receive himself arrested, but fails with each stratagem. Other plus, is that Tuttle (or his producer) have wisely used melody throughout, and not confined it to the opening and closing credits as with many another early sound movies. In fact, they even continue the credit game melody throughout the opening montage. This would seem to be an obvious course of action, but you would be amazed how many early sound movies didn't do this, but ground away in silence until someone spoke. As for the acting, Cooper, as you would expect, gives an able portrayal and Miss Brian makes a spirited heroine. Connoisseurs will also also relish an almost unrecognizable Virginia Bruce, although she has only a single scene. The film also offers a rare occasion to see Morgan Farley, who shares a couple of scenes with Cooper early on in the action. Guy Oliver certainly looks remarkably like Grant, but he has only two scenes – and they are not particularly relevant to the plot. Phillips Holmes seems miscast as a jealous lover, but William Le Maire delivers a confidently natural portrayal of the duty-shirking sentry. Elda Voelkel makes an agreeable confidante for the heroine, while James Neill is absolutely excellent as the epitome of Southern hospitality. Production values, whilst making test of stock footage, are of average standard. Photography, sets and costumes are nevertheless attractive.



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