In the Dark

The Grit and the Gritless

True Grit
Produced and distributed by Paramount Pictures
Written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen 

The Green Hornet
Produced and distributed by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Michel Gondry
Screenplay by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg 

The King’s Speech
Produced by See-Saw Films 
Directed by Tom Hooper 
Screenplay by David Seidler 
Distributed by The Weinstein Company 


I was surprised to learn that Ethan and Joel Coen were making a film of Charles Portis’s novel True Grit.  After all, Henry Hathaway had turned it into a John Wayne movie in 1969.  Any new version would be compared to the earlier one and likely found wanting for not having the Duke to play its principal part, the one-eyed marshal, Rooster Cogburn.

Now that I’ve seen the Coens’ version, I can report that they found a simple solution to this problem.  They largely ignored Hathaway’s movie in favor of Portis’s text.  Yes, there’s a big lunk of a fellow six-gunning his way through the 1880’s Indian territory of ur-Oklahoma, but he’s Jeff Bridges, nobody’s idea of a Wayne-sized hero.  Bridges’ Rooster is a venal, stupid, murderous liar whose only recommendation is his apparent fearlessness. ...

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