Sunday, 6 February 2011

I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man.

True Grit (1969)
Chosen by me but supplied by Victoria (whose splendid blog is linked to on the side) as I wanted to see it before the Coen's version.

A very talky western, but when the dialogue is this good that doesn't matter. Funny and interesting, offering three great characters in La Beouf, Cogburn but most of all Mattie Ross. Unfortunately the playing of them is not quite as consistant. Wayne is fine but can't find the darkness in Cogburn that makes his relationship with the young girl all the more compelling. Kim Darby is generally pretty good as Ross, holding the film together, as she is pretty much onscreen the whole running time. The weak link is certainly Glen Campbell as La Beouf who never gets past his smile, the smarm a little too wooden and one dimensional even when the writing isn't.

There's not much action to speak of, perfunctory and slightly dull (though someone getting their fingers chopped off is quite the shock but this was the year The Wild Bunch was released and some riders essentially blandly charging each other doesn't cut it even with the iconic 'fill your hands you son of a bitch' line beforehand) but that's not the focus of this film and the words 'zing' more than the bullets do.

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