Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen

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Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen
The official movie poster for COOPER AND HEMINGWAY THE TRUEGEN documentary film.jpg
Directed byJohn Mulholland
Written byJohn Mulholland
Produced byRichard Zampella
Narrated bySam Waterston
Len Cariou
CinematographyAlex Eaton
Edited byWilliam Wells
Elwaldo Baptiste
Music byByron Janis
Release date
  • October 21, 2013 (2013-10-21)
CountryUnited States

Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen is a 2013 documentary film about the 20-year friendship between writer Ernest Hemingway and film actor Gary Cooper. Written and directed by John Mulholland,[1] it is narrated by actor Sam Waterston with actor Len Cariou as the voice of writer Ernest Hemingway.

Production history[edit]

In researching Gary Cooper's friendship with Ernest Hemingway for an article in the Idaho Press-Tribune,[2] writer/director John Mulholland grew increasingly fascinated by their unlikely friendship.[3] The documentary, Cooper & Hemingway: True Gen, grew out of Mulholland's research for the article.

Prior to commencing production, Robert Osborne interviewed Mulholland on the documentary at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City.[4]

Gary Cooper's daughter, Maria Cooper, discussed True Gen with the Idaho Mountain Express before a rough cut screening in Sun Valley: "Though Ernest Hemingway’s extraordinary life and career has been exhaustively covered (too often the tabloid-sensationalism of this coverage has over-shadowed his unrivaled literary legacy), less thoroughly examined has been his fascinating friendship with my father, Gary Cooper".[5]

The documentary was produced over a five-year period and features on-camera interviews with 30 subjects, including Jim Harrison, Charlton Heston, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Elmore Leonard, Robert Stack, Budd Schulberg, Bill Blass, Patrick Hemingway, and George Plimpton.

While researching True Gen in Cuba, Mulholland spoke on Cuban radio in Havana.[6]

Prior to the film's release, Mulholland spoke about his Cooper and Hemingway documentary and its expected late 2013 release: "In the final analysis, what distinguishes the film is access—access to the colleagues and members of Ernest Hemingway’s and Gary Cooper’s inner circle that have never been assembled to discuss the lives of these two men, as well as film footage, photographs and other material that has never been seen."

On October 11, 2013, Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen had its theatrical premiere at The Quad Cinema in New York City.[7] The film is a feature-length documentary about the friendship between Ernest Hemingway and Gary Cooper. It was directed and written by John Mulholland and produced by Richard Zampella.[8]

Audience and critical reception[edit]

Film critics hold diverse and wide-ranging opinions of the film.

The film was reviewed by The New York Times film critic Andy Webster on October 11, 2013 and was named an NY Times Critics’ Pic[9] by Manohla Dargis, A. O. Scott and Stephen Holden. Webster said the picture was proof that the work of these two men "endures and so does what they stood for".[10]

James Van Maanen, film critic for Trust Movies, called the film "a first class, dual celebrity bio-doc".[11]

Michael Nordine of the Village Voice said that the film was informative to a fault,[12] while Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times said, "There's an intriguing investigation to be made of the unlikely bond between an easygoing, friendly Hollywood conservative and an intemperate, hard-drinking arts-and-letters liberal who chewed on heroic ideals for a living."[13]

In author and scholar Ron McFarland's 2014 book on Ernest Hemingway he writes: "True Gen, written and directed by John Mulholland, is exceptional, a NY Times Critics Pick, it opened in 2013 to considerable fanfare in NYC ..."[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Internet Movie Data base. "Cooper and Hemingway: The True Gen (2013) on IMDb". IMDb Title 0159369. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  2. ^ Mulholland, John. "Cooper and Hemingway The Odd Couple", Idaho Press-Tribune, Boise, May 13, 2000.
  3. ^ "Mulholland TV Interview on Gary Cooper".
  4. ^ "John Mulholland and Robert Osborne on True Gen".
  5. ^ "Idaho Mountain Express on Maria Cooper & Mulholland".
  6. ^ "Mulholland Havana radio news item" (PDF).
  7. ^ Ann Borin. "Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen (2013)". Covering Media. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  8. ^ Internet Movie Database. "Richard Zampella, Film Producer". IMDb Name 2495087. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  9. ^ Andy Webster. "Andy Webster: Critics' Pics for 2013". The New York Times. Retrieved Oct 11, 2013.
  10. ^ Andy Webster. "Coop and Papa, Manning Up in Good Times and Bad". The New York Times. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  11. ^ James Van Maanen. "John Mulholland's Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen is a first-class, dual celebrity bio-doc". Trust Movies. Retrieved Oct 11, 2013.
  12. ^ Michael Nordine. "Cooper and Hemingway: The True Gen Is Informative to a Fault". The Village Voice. Retrieved Oct 9, 2013.,
  13. ^ Robert Abele. "Movie review: 'Cooper & Hemingway' tries too hard, talks too much". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved Jan 9, 2014.
  14. ^ McFarland, Ron (2014). Appropriating Hemingway: Using Him As A Fictional Figure, p 188. McFarland Books, Jefferson, NC. ISBN 978-0-7864-7977-1.

External links[edit]