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True Grit (1969) (BD)
In 1970, John Wayne won an Academy Award. for his larger-than-life perfo rmance as the drunken, uncouth and totally fearless one-eyed U.S. Marsh all, Rooster Cogburn. The cantankerous Rooster is hired by a headstrong young girl (Kim Darby) to find the man who murder ed her father and fled with the family savings. When Cogburn's employer insists on accompanyin g the old gunfighter, sparks fly. And the situation goes from troubled t o disastrous when an inexperienced but enthusiastic Texas Ranger (Glen C ampbell) joins the party. Laughter and tears punctuate the wild action i n this extraordinary Western which features performances by Robert Duval l and Strother Martin.]]>
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The film itself is terrific, filmed near Telluride, Colorado, the ski resort where we live and work -- mostly in Ridgway, partly in nearby Ouray, both of which are very special little towns near Telluride, easy day trip using Telluride as "base camp" to see them both and immerse yourselves in the genuine locations for an iconic film.
John Wayne finally got an Oscar® for this film, and his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn, U.S. Marshal. The bad guys include a young Robert Duvall, and a young Dennis Hopper, both are terrific in the film, and add real interest for film buffs.
The long views of the San Juan mountain range, mostly from Hastings Mesa above Telluride and Ridgway, are unforgettable, and easily attainable by travellers today, looks just the same, by visiting our area of Southwest Colorado.
And I can't remember John Wayne in a more appealing role, although it's certainly worth seeing his performance, along with Ron Howard, and Lauren Bacall, in "The Shootist"; if you haven't seen that one, you should. Mighty fine, and I believe, John Wayne's last film.
Kim Darby is on BluRay extras in interviews, great to see her after all these years; she plays the female lead, a young woman with plenty of her own "true grit" seeking justice for the senseless murder of her father.
The great singing star Glen Campbell also has a leading role, on the trail of the murderer along with John Wayne and Kim Darby. Glen is interviewed too; very touching, particularly in light of recent diagnosis of Alzheimer's and the end of Glen Campbell's touring career. Panned by critics at the time, Glen is just fine as a Texas Ranger. But more important: his stunning singing on the title track, i.e., "True Grit" which is played over the opening credits. I confess, as a kid, I saw the movie more than once in theaters just to hear Glen sing the title song. (Not on albums at the time, we recently found it on a terrific CD purchased here on amazon, "The Essential Glen Campbell," check it out!) This was Glen in his prime; the version in the movie is slightly different than the one on the CD, but both are great. To me, as a kid, and a budding musician, hearing this was literally worth the price of admission in the movies. In his interview, Glen comments what a thrill it was to ride alongside the great John Wayne in a western. How many of us, when we were young, imagined just the same thing? For Glen, from Delight, Arkansas, a dream come true.
The exterior of the general store in this film with period advertising in the custom of the day is now the interior wall of the True Grit Café, a popular restaurant and bar in Ridgway, CO, so movie fans will have fun "connecting the dots" and seeing this, and the town, and Ouray just a few miles up the road, in person sometime. Great fun for the whole family.
Highly recommended. Hope you enjoy it as much as we have.
As for the rest of the movie, the dialogue is snappy and witty. Today's audiences crave action so it's largely an afterthought with modern movies, however it's a nice refresher to hear a movie script such as this one, that some work was actually put into it.
I enjoyed the story, I thought it unfolded nicely. At times the movie moved slow, but it picks up as needed.
I rated it three stars because it just feels like it is lacking something and I honestly don't know what that something is. It didn't disappoint me but it didn't wow me either. Mostly wishing I hadn't bought it. I should add that I enjoyed the remake because I loved Bridge's Cogsburn too.