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TRUE GRIT


Curley Cole, SASS #56849

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After seeing the new version of True Grit, I got to see the Duke version on tv only a couple of days later. I decided to go back and reread the book and see which movie was most true to the book, and I was interestingly surprised.

 

Actually you could put both movies together to come up with the book rendition.

 

The book only said Rooster was "an old one eyed jasper built along the lines of Grover Cleveland" so the patch could be on either eye, or not there at all.

 

The scene of taking Mattie to the doctor was more closely followed by Duke (who "stole" a wagon and a buckboard to get to the doctor)

 

The ending of the Bridges version was more to the book, as the Duke jumped his horse over a fence and in Bridges he was dead!

 

Duke did the run across the valley with a pistol and a 92 rifle, and Bridges drew his pommel guns as was done in the book.

 

In Dukes version Mattie did not loose an arm, and she did in the Bridges version.

 

I really liked the way Damon delivered the line "the sun must have got in your eyes, well, in your EYE!"

 

I guess to get it right we need to do another movie and poke out both eyes to get that part right.

 

So, has any one else read the book again to compare and what did you all come up with..??

 

Actually I think both movies were pretty well done, and maybe the Bridges one squeeks ahead due to details, dirty clothes (in the 60's almost everyone was clean and pressed)

 

If ya haven't read the book ever, or haven't ever read it, take a look see at it. it is a pretty good read.

 

curley

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The only part from teh book (and the Wayne movie) that I wished was in the new movie, was the exchange in teh dugout with Mattie and the outlaws there.

 

Oh and the whole "writ for a rat" scene. Two of my favorite verbal exchanges in the book. Both of which are only in the Wayne version.

 

Both great movies and a great book.

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I think ya got it about right. My sentiments almost exactly after seeing both movies and reading the book!

 

J.J.

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I had a similar reaction. The nice thing is, I still enjoy all three on their own merits. I love the book, and both movies are a lot of fun. I did miss the "writ for a rat" scene in the Coen movie, though.

 

Something the book has which doesn't carry over much into either movie is Mattie's wonderful narration. It's full of little asides and opinions that are frequently hilarious. I know narration is considered a no-no in cinema, but the lack of it really makes the book required reading if you enjoy the story from the films.

 

The Coens did make a few odd additions to their movie: having Lebeouf split off from the group (twice, if I recall correctly), and then having him nearly bite through his tongue. Nowhere to be found in the book.

 

I did notice one error when I read the book again recently: Portis describes a character swinging out the cylinder to reload it! I think it was Rooster, who is supposed to have a Colt 1873. Even if he hadn't identified the gun, I can't think of any gun from that era that had a swing-out cylinder. This is a misconception only someone who hadn't actually fired a single action revolver from the era would have. It's fortunately a rare error; Portis really seemed to know his stuff. The language and slang he uses are especially wonderful.

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I think it was Rooster, who is supposed to have a Colt 1873. Even if he hadn't identified the gun, I can't think of any gun from that era that had a swing-out cylinder. This is a misconception only someone who hadn't actually fired a single action revolver from the era would have. It's fortunately a rare error; Portis really seemed to know his stuff. The language and slang he uses are especially wonderful.

All that's said about his pistol is in a lecture to Mattie where he says he prefers cartridge guns and that she should get rid of the cap and ball.

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I could only find one 19-th century western written by Portis. The rest of his books were post-WWII novels.

I could only find only one other near western that the Coen brothers had directed: No Country for Old Men.

I could not find a western that Steven Speilberg had produced.

I liked the Mattie and LeBeouf characters in the new movie. I understand that the book was a narration by Mattie, but I wish that there had been more development of the villians or more of Rooster's dark past.

 

It is interesting to compare how close the Duke's version was to Louis L'Amour's Hondo, which followed the book more closely than 1968 True Grit movie followed Portis' story.

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I am grateful for both movies as well as the book, and I hope publishers and moviemakers give us more. Geez I am tired of forensics and vampires...

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