In a feature here on “Random thoughts of 210Darryl” started a few weeks ago I’m listing my favorite movies in a few different genres. We started with my top five favorite comedy movies and counted up toward my favorite, Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Now we’ll take a look at my five favorite westerns, and #5 we have the movie that won John Wayne his only acting Academy Award in True Grit.
I have no idea why I like this movie so much because in general it isn’t very good. Wayne is hardly at his best here, Kim Darby was a terrible choice to play Mattie, and Glen Campbell is, well, awful. Yet there’s something about this film that draws me to it every time it’s on TV. I just can’t explain it. What funny is True Grit just narrowly made the cut over another Wayne movie, The Sons of Katie Elder, which itself isn’t all that great a movie but is probably better than True Grit in just about every way. But put both on TV and I’d pick True Grit every time.
I did see the 2010 version of the film staring Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn, and while it’s a real good movie and much better represents Charles Portis’ novel, it doesn’t have the same magic for me that Wayne’s 1969 performance does. There’s just something about those 1960s westerns have that just makes them so much better than many of the ones made after. That’s likely why you don’t see many made anymore. Good ones still do reasonably well at the box office, they just don’t make all that many good ones any more.
Directed by Henry Hathaway
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Written by Marguerite Roberts
Based on True Grit by Charles Portis
Starring John Wayne, Kim Darby, Glen Campbell, Robert Duvall, Jeff Corey, Dennis Hopper, Strother Martin, and John Fiedler
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography by Lucien Ballard
Edited by Warren Low
Release date June 11, 1969
Running time 128 minutes
Box office $31,132,592