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TRUE GRIT (1969)
John Wayne gives an inspired performance in one of his last great screen roles as the aging and irascible lawman Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn, who reluctantly agrees to help teenager Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) hunt down Tom Chaney (Jeff Corey) – the man who killed her father. Wayne won a Best Actor Oscar for the role, in a script he said was the best he'd ever seen. The dramatic showdown between Cogburn and Chaney ranks high among the Duke's list of noteworthy cinematic moments.
The Director, Henry Hathaway, with TRUE GRIT, gave Wayne
one of his better, late career, roles.
The basic story involves an over-the-hill, tough old one eyed marshall, U.S. Marshal Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn (Wayne), who's hired by a gutsy and determined teenage girl, Mattie Ross (Kim Darby), on a mission of justice to find the man who killed her father. Along the way, they encounter a friendly Texas Ranger, LaBoeuf (Campbell), becoming a 3 person posse on the trail of a slew of bad guys (Storther Martin, etc.), even through indian territory.
The entertaining script was adapted from the novel by Charles Portis, by well-known, long time writer, Marguerite Roberts who liked to write scripts for tough men. She wrote scripts for MGM in the '30's, '40's, until she was blacklisted in 1952, for not revealing names to The Committee on Un-American Activities.
The colorful cast includes: John
Wayne, Glen Campbell, Kim Darby, Robert
Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Strother Martin, Jeremy Slate, and Jeff
Kim Darby was perfectly cast as a brave, focused girl, who is set on bringing the scumbags who killed her father to their just deserts. She is convinced that if she can get the help of men who have "true grit", her mission for justice will be successful.
This film offers terrific scumbag villains, by casting such talent as Robert Duvall (Ned Pepper), Strother Martin (Colonel G. Stonehill), and Dennis Hopper (Moon Garrett).
The film also sports some great dialogue: Ned Pepper, played by Robert Duvall says, "Those are pretty bold words for a one-eyed fat man." Wayne, "Fill your hand you son of a bitch." Then Wayne, his horse's reins in his teeth, races towards the bad guys on horseback, firing guns with both hands to face the four villains on horseback opposing him across the field. Such scenes are what classics are made of!
Another favorite scene shows how our heroes take over a cabin by a stream, and then proceed to ambush the bad guys.
The film is a classic because of its involving story and engaging actors, particularly Wayne, who seems to have had great fun playing a broad character role. Wayne went on to win an Oscar for his performance.