Sunday, August 15, 2010

True Grit

I'm an unapologetic fan of John Wayne and when I think of John Wayne the first image I come up with is of him as Rooster Cogburn. I bring this up because the iconic True Grit is being remade with Jeff Bridges in the role of Marshall Reuben J. Cogburn. The remake is being directed by the Coen brothers and co-stars Matt Damon as La Boef. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie so much so that I went out and bought the Charles Portis book.

True Grit by Charles Portis is an enjoyable quick read (less than 200 pages). The original movie was pretty true to the book (except for the ending) but it was the dry wit Portis employs via Matty Ross as narrator that made the book special. It was that wit that was lost in translation in the original movie that perhaps the Coen brothers can recapture.

Back to John Wayne for a minute. Recently I learned of two movies he turned down that could have really put him over the top as an American icon. First he turned down the lead in the movie The Dirty Dozen. That role went to Lee Marvin and was perhaps the greatest role of Marvin's career. John Wayne turned down The Dirty Dozen to make The Green Berets - the most controversial movie of the Duke's career. Secondly - John Wayne turned down the role of Taggart in Blazing Saddles. That role went to Slim Pickens. It blows my mind to think of John Wayne in that role. The Duke had a healthy sense of humor and I think he would have enjoyed working up a Number 6.

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