True Grit

1969, Movie, G, 128 mins

Review

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An enormously entertaining adventure that is as much about John Wayne's image as it is about a girl seeking revenge for her father's murder. Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) is a level-headed 14-year-old who goes to Rooster Cogburn (Wayne) after her father is killed. The murderer, Tom Chaney (Jeff Corey), has since fled into Indian territory, and Mattie wants a man of "true grit" to help bring him to justice. Cogburn, a paunchy US marshal with a patch over one eye, admires Mattie's spunk and agrees to take on the job. Joining them is La Boeuf (Glen Campbell), a Texas Ranger whom Mattie despises. He, too, is searching for Chaney, hoping to collect a reward offered by the family of a murdered Texas politician. Much of the film's entertainment comes from the obvious contrasts and subtle similarities between Cogburn and Mattie. Cogburn is fat, drunken, and not entirely honest, but he has an underlying sense of honor, that "true grit" that Mattie demands. Although Wayne's characterizations in STAGECOACH and THE SEARCHERS are more complex, TRUE GRIT provides him with some of his most memorable screen moments. He reprised the role in ROOSTER COGBURN, costarring with Katharine Hepburn. TRUE GRIT was redone for television in 1978, with Warren Oates in the lead role, but neither project approached this film in either quality or spirit. leave a comment

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