Wednesday, November 02, 2011

True Grit (1969)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
True Grit is a Western about a girl who seeks revenge for her father's death.

After teenage bookkeeper Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) discovers that her father was shot and robbed, she goes to the Town Hall to find out what's being done about it, only to be told that the murderer has fled into Indian territory.

She makes enquiries and recruits "Rooster" Cogburn (John Wayne), and they are both joined by La Boeuf (Glen Campbell), a Texas Ranger who also seeks the same man for the separate murder of a Senator in Texas.

True Grit is certainly a film that is easy to hate. Film fanatics who like to keep their Academy Awards to steady dramas must have been horrified to see John Wayne step up to accept Best Actor in 1970, while followers of Westerns must have been devastated to see John Wayne looking old and podgy in a bid to get his cowboy hands on an Oscar.

Actually though, behind True Grit is a very clever storyline. John Wayne takes full control - earning his award in the process - as the wily drunkard Cogburn, while Kim Darby as Mattie, the hapless but determined young girl. Combining them both with Glen Campbell, the Texas Ranger, True Grit casts three vastly different protagonists in the Wild West and ensures that the story has enough variety for all.

All the ingredients for a true cowboy film are there. Calming scenes of ranchers riding bareback across vast plains are offset beautifully by heroic scenes such as John Wayne hanging onto the back of a horse by his teeth while shooting the spurs off the advancing horsemen.

As with any Western, the setting is simply stunning and flows brilliantly from scene to scene. From an old wooden housed town with the gallows to a small hut alongside a ravine to the rocky mountains of modern day Oklahoma are the pick of some of the best landscapes film has to offer.

Many will point to the Coen Brothers' remake as a vastly superior film, but this still has plenty to offer in the way of good old fashioned Sunday afternoon fun.

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