“Baby sister, I was born game and I intend to go out that way.” – Rooster Cogburn
Number of Times Seen – 1 (10 Nov 2004 and 14 Sep 2017)
Brief Synopsis – After her father is murdered, a young girl enlists the help of a tough Federal Marshall in capturing and killing the man responsible.
My Take on it – This is a film that is clearly among John Wayne’s best and it was the only one that garnered him an Oscar for Best Actor in all his years in films.
Many people debate whether he really deserved this award for this particular role, or perhaps he got it as more of a lifetime award.
Regardless, he does a wonderful job in the role of the gritty Marshall who will do all he can to bring his prey in for justice.
This films deals with some great themes including Revenge, repentance and of course the quest for true justice no matter what the real cost will be for that to happen and they all come across so well here.
They do a great job showing the growing relationship between Wayne’s character and the seemingly innocent young girl played by Kim Darby.
Both of these characters evolve so much over the course of the film and it’s very interesting watching it all play out.
Bottom Line – Great story told so well. Wayne is amazing as the lead character despite not really deserving the Oscar for Lead actor for this role. The themes dealing with revenge, repentance and of course the quest for true justice no matter the cost rings so true here. Liked the relationship between Wayne’s gritty Marshall and Darby’s seemingly innocent young girl especially because of the way it evolves over the course of the film. Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Despite its commercial success, John Wayne was not pleased with the finished film. He greatly disliked Kim Darby’s performance, and while promoting the film for its U.S. release in June 1969, he told interviewers that he had starred in much better films, citing Stagecoach (1939) as an example. At the Oscar ceremony on April 9, 1970 Wayne personally told Richard Burton that he felt he should have won the Oscar instead, for his portrayal of King Henry VIII in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969). (From IMDB)
Rating – Globe Worthy
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I love this movie. I have no problem with Kim Darby, although she was a bit older than the role of Maddie – who I believe was 14 in the book (which I read) and the age of actress Hailee Steinfeld cast in the remake (which also garnered an Oscar nod for Jeff Bridges, essaying the same role that had won the Oscar for Wayne). Whether he deserved the Oscar of not is moot – he won – and he gave a wonderful performance (“Why you ain’t no bigger than a corn nubbin'”) – surrounded by some terrific actors like Robert Duvall and – in another underrated perforamce – Glen Campbell as the Texas Ranger. Throughout his career – Wayne was famous for taking the hot singers of the time (Bobby Rydell, Ricky Nelson etc) – young heartthrobs on the covers of the teen magazines – and putting them in his films – maybe to expand his main demographic. Most times – it was a bit of a stunt. They weren’t very good actors. But in Campbell’s case – he WAS very good. (“That damd Texican saved my life. Twice. Once after he was dead”). Granted – the competition for the Oscar that year was tough. Hoffman and Voight in all likelihood, canceled one another out for 2 brilliant performances in “Midnight Cowboy”. Burton, if your trivia is true, WAS excellent as Henry VIII (as was Genevieve Bujold as Anne – and she lost too) – but he also never won an Oscar. Six or 7 nominations – zero wins. Making him one of the Academy’s most nominated losers in its history. Deserving is only part of the equation during award season. But True Grit was a terrific book, the Wayne version did it justice (“Come up and see an old fat man some time…:) and so did the Coen Brothers redo. Rooster Cogburn is a pip of a character – and Wayne brought him to full blown life.
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