True Grit (1969)

<strong class="MovieTitle">True Grit</strong> (1969)

(On DVD, February 2018) Neither of these opinions are particularly controversial, but here goes: I’m not all that fond of John Wayne, and I like the 2010 remake version of True Grit more than the original version. The first does not necessarily explain the second: While I find Wayne to be an unsympathetic actor, he’s at his best (and has often been cast) as an unsympathetic character. Here he gets to crow as Rooster Cogburn, a gruff and violent frontier lawman hired by a teenage girl to avenge her father. As per its title, True Grit is not a fun western, and the way it delves into the danger of the Wild West with its teenage heroine is markedly different from the adventures that often awaited typical young male western heroes. The location shooting is good, and the narrative has plenty of, well, grit to it. This being said, True Grit often veers far too close to average-western territory for me, losing my interest along the way. I’m not all that dismissive of the original when I say that I prefer the remake—moviegoing sensibilities evolving along the way, I found the remake more naturalistic and Hailee Steinfeld’s performance more interesting than that of Kim Darby in the original. Your own appreciation may differ.

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