Thursday, February 2, 2012

True Grit (1969)

I broke a general rule in December when I watched the Coen Brothers remake of True Grit (2010) before seeing the original John Wayne classic. Finally a remake that holds up to the original.

The two films are very close. The Coen Brothers obviously chose to stick very true to the original Grit but just strengthen certain elements and add well... more Grit.''

I think I might even like the remake a touch more then the original 1969 film. Mainly due to how {PG} the John Wayne film comes off. Sure there is a bit of nastiness to it. Dennis Hopper's fingers are cut off in the most memorable scene. We also have stabbings and shootings but the Coen Brothers made the John Wayne character of Cogburn much more bad-ass. Wayne's portrayal of the one-eyed bounty hunter is a drunken, overweight rough-neck with a comedic side. While the Coen Brothers eliminated some of that goofiness and cut back on a bit of the sappy shit.

Seeing Dennis Hopper was a treat in its self. This was filmed the same year as Easy Rider and stuff like The Last Movie and American Dreamer were right around the corner. Robert Duvall also shows up as a bad guy named Ned Pepper. Duvall and Hopper were really the high points for me.

Another big difference between the two films is the ending. In the original after the young girl is bit by the rattle snake she is reunited with Cogburn and we leave with a happy ending. In the Coen Brothers version which apparently follows the novel a bit closer the girl loses her arm and never gets to thank Cogburn for saving her life. Leave it to the Coen Brothers to leave us with a downer ending.

Probably the best John Wayne film I have ever seen. Mainly due to the fact that he isn't playing the same exact character that he always plays. The two films are to close to really choose from but I think the Coen Brothers remake has a touch more replay value but "That's a bold statement for a one-eyed fat man".

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