Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Truer Grit

True Grit (2010), directors Ethan Coen and Joel Coen: A good solid western with excellent storytelling, crisply told and unsentimental. The acting is fine throughout, especially 13-year-old Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross. The ending is extremely well-measured.

True Grit (1969), director Henry Hathaway: Here the acting is bad, especially Kim Darby and Glen Campbell. John Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn is over the top, cuddly and sentimental. Reaction shots go on too long. Musical cues are ham-handed. The ending goes off the rails. The 1969 version is completely superseded by the 2010 version.

Side-by-side these two movies make a stark contrast, a wonderful case study for a film class.

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