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USA 1969
Directed by
Henry Hathaway
128 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

True Grit (1969)

Although John Wayne won an Oscar for his performance as a broken-down Deputy Marshal-cum-bounty hunter, Rooster Cogburn, it was given more in recognition of his legendary career rather than anything particularly outstanding that he does here. Not that he isn’t good in individuating his stock gruff character and playing to his aging years.

An unreconstructed Western directed by a 71 year old Henry Hathaway,True Grit is very much in the jaunty style of the pre-Peckinpah '60s which made no bones about horsin' around with the well-worn genre. Glen Campbell provides the title song and also plays (surprisingly well) the Texas Ranger, "La Boeuf" who accompanies Cogburn and a young girl, Mattie Ross (Kim Darby), as they hunt for the killer of Mattie’s father.

Based on a novel by Charles Portis, the film benefits from an often amusing script by Marguerite Roberts that delights in having the typical Wild West roughnecks speak in mannered dialogue. Darby, an actress making her feature film debut who never topped this on her CV despite a long career in both film and television, does a fine job opposite her seasoned cohorts and the whole thing is an enjoyable affair in the old school Western tradition.




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