Thursday, March 26, 2009

True Grit Ain't True Grit Without The Duke!

I'm not bein' closed minded and I'm not bein' mean, but ya can't do "True Grit" without John Wayne, and unless you're planning to produce and show this "True Grit" film up yonder, I don't reckon The Duke will be found, shall we say, available!

I know, you're a sayin' "Hey, Westernman, it's those Cohen Brothers, they're box-office winners!" You're a sayin' "It's gonna be a "different" film than the first, 'cause they're gonna follow the book better; they're gonna present it from the girl's perspective; they're not fixin' to compete with the classic "True Grit!"

I says again, "Ya can't do "True Grit" without The Duke! I don't care what the book was about or how much they do their best to avoid competing with the present classic. The reality is that nobody really knows the book; they know the movie and they're gonna compare, and that's when the vultures will commence circling. Sorry.

Sure, many will read the book now, but not enough to fend off failure at the box-office. Sure, many will like it, the same folks, probably, that liked the Willie Wonka remake. But that won't be enough to make the producers and everyone else happy. Sorry, again. I predict not a flop but a disaster. It's like tryin' to substitute the Electric Grandmother for the real grandmother. Fun to try, gets the adrenaline pumping, gets a lot of PR stirred up, but, in the end, those involved will find themselves let down and feeling dirty, like they violated a national treasure, which they will deserve. Sorry.

Movies like "True Grit" need to be left alone, despite the purist ideas of integrity to the original novel. When The Duke did it, it was done, true to the book or not! It's "True Grit" because it's "True Grit" done by The Duke and its gonna stay that way. Sorry.


Keep those suggestions coming. I have seen "The Big Trees," but thanks for the suggestion. I'm adding "Gunfighter," I think. I'll publish a new list next week. Please get the word out on this blog and send people here to suggest.

Happy trails...


  1. I agree. The Duke made Rooster Cogburn such an iconic role that any imitation will be left wanting. I;m with you. The movie has disaster written all over it.

  2. Exactly, thanks for vocalizing your agreement with me, Randy. Cogburn is integral to the plot, no matter how strong the perspective is slanted to Mattie Ross, so, consequently, Cogburn had better be John Wayne or a lot of folk are gonna be forced into mourning for two hours, rather than focusing upon some of the possible redeemable aspects of the new version. Mourning and Film Enjoyment, I believe, are mutually exclusive.

  3. I agree - remake other westerns by lesser stars but leave the Dyke alone.

  4. I agree. You can't re-make a John Wayne film, especially one with Rooster Cogburn as a central character, without the man. Might as well go re-make "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" without Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach and maybe cast Brad Pitt to play Lee Van Cleef's character. And may as well get rid of the old soundtrack and replace it with some hip-hop or techno. That'd be great, wouldn't it?

    Yeah, yeah , I know.

    The Coen Brothers claim it will follow the novel closer than the Wayne film, but ... I got a better idea for the Coen Brothers:

    Go make a new film opposed to being like everyone else in Hollywood and re-making a beloved film?

    There are lots of other good Western novels out there that haven't been adapted yet, including lots of L'Amour, Gray, Haycox and Kelton novels. Some of Kelton's would make GREAT films. Why not one of those?

  5. I love the original True Grit, too. I just bought the Blue Ray edition. But I also saw and enjoyed the new movie True Grit. You can argue all day the merits of each, but the main thing is a new Western was made by competent film-makers. And it's no coincidence the original just hit Blue Ray to coincide with new interest in the new movie. And the Portis novel has been reprinted for a new generation of readers. Why can't we have 2 True Grits? We should all support new Westerns so they will continue making them. I do think the Red Dead Redemption video game has brought a renewed interest in the American West. Let's keep it going.