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PHE Press Release: True Grit (2010) (Blu-ray)

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#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted March 09 2011 - 06:01 AM


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#2 of 12 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted March 09 2011 - 06:22 AM

 Another case of a film I wanted to see in the theater..but didn't. I purchased the Blu-ray of the 1969 version and was naturally curious to compare the two.  I was a huge Glen Campbell fan back in 1969 (I was 10) and went and saw the original version of True Grit in the theater.  It was fun to get reacquainted with that version again.  I probably hadn't seen it since.  Sadly, I was disappointed to see how poorly cast Campbell was as LaBoeuf...especially up against the powerhouse screen presence of John Wane. I have been a fan of much of the Coen Brothers works and am curious to see what they did with this tale.  Most of the little snippets I've seen (awards shows, etc.) make it seem as if they were pretty faithful to the original.  I am looking forward to finding out.

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#3 of 12 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted March 09 2011 - 06:52 AM

There was much talk about the Coen version being more faithful to the novel.  I'd never seen the Wayne, so it was all new to me.  But what people were saying about the book sounded so good that I picked it up and read it before seeing either film.  Then I watched the Wayne on a friend's DVD and was very impressed with how faithful to the story and to so many details it was, especially for a 1960s mainstream John Wayne vehicle.  Of course they Hollywood-ized a few things, and of course poor Glen Campbell gets no love in this part, but I truly like the film.  Then I went to the new one, and was thrilled with that for everything it did well.  It's definitely more faithful to the tone or spirit of the novel, but they changed and added a few things of their own, a few of which I loved, and a couple of which I wonder about.  (No spoilers here.)  Bottom line, though, I can honestly say I love the novel (now I want to read more Portis) and both film versions.  I just grabbed the Wayne Blu-ray, and this one will be an immediate BUY as well.

#4 of 12 OFFLINE   Rick Thompson

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Posted March 09 2011 - 09:17 AM

And the Oscar for "Best Performance by an Actor Who Made His lines Completely Unintelligible" goes to . . . JEFF BRIDGES!

#5 of 12 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted March 09 2011 - 10:52 AM

I completely agree with Charles; I don't have to choose a 'better' version because for me they co-exist quite comfortably; love them both.
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#6 of 12 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted March 09 2011 - 01:43 PM

This is a must buy for me when it comes out.

#7 of 12 OFFLINE   TonyD


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Posted March 09 2011 - 03:05 PM

Another boring cover. Oh well I've had it on order from Amzon for maybe over a month since they first put it up for order.

#8 of 12 OFFLINE   WinstonCely


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Posted March 10 2011 - 04:19 AM

Originally Posted by TonyD 

Another boring cover.

I think the art of, um, cover art is dying a slow death, and I hate it.  I think the age of digital copies are slowly killing it off.  There are a lot of new amazing cover art examples (especially when Criterion gets involved) but the main studios just seem to be biding their time until they don't have to pay anyone to do it.  Lots of disappointment out there (Warner Bro's and your new Kubrick Collection, I'm talking to you).

#9 of 12 OFFLINE   Johnny Angell

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Posted March 10 2011 - 01:05 PM

Originally Posted by John Hodson 

I completely agree with Charles; I don't have to choose a 'better' version because for me they co-exist quite comfortably; love them both.

Both are good films, but the film without Campbell is better for that alone.  The Stanfield girl is wonderful in her role.  I have always liked the Kim Darby portrayal, but Stanfield's is better.  Darby has has been generous with her praise of Stanfield.

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#10 of 12 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted March 11 2011 - 12:17 AM

The remake is a terrific film - not the Coens best, but time and distance will be needed before any kind of final judgement can be made - slightly hamstrung by my familiarity with Hathaway's original. I was surprised by how much alike both pieces were, but seeing both mined Portis's novel for some wonderful dialogue, that was, in hindsight, only to be expected.

Unlike their wholly misjudged Ladykillers 'remake', it is the similarities with novel and the '69 film that makes this an atypical Coens film, sticking almost rigidly to the source means that there is little room for their imprimatur (aside from the very occasional flourish; I'm looking particularly at you Bear Riding A Horse...)

Just as, 42 years ago, Wayne was accused of giving us another variation on 'John Wayne', Bridges could by the same token be similarly charged. We are wholly familiar with both actors and what they are - and are not - capable of giving. By '69 Wayne had been happily blessing films with his 'John Wayne' persona, but Cogburn was not simply a variation on it. Ripe it is, but it was more than just his very familiar and very bankable western character.

Similarly, we've seen pretty much every variation on 'Jeff Bridges', plus Bridges has the thankless task of playing a character that an American icon made his own (and won an Oscar for). Thus, he goes out of his way to try and be 'Not John Wayne', even down to wearing the patch on the other eye. He's gravelly, scruffier, surlier, but come up with a better delivery of 'Fill your hands you sonafabitch!!'? Bridges doesn't even try. Unlike Barry Pepper, who I swear to God is channelling Robert Duvall's cadences.

So, Jeff Bridges is good (and that we expect), but not startling, and that's possibly down to direction and script, which, in the pecking order, places him behind the real star of the film - 14-years-old Hailee Steinfeld who has rolled off that US production line that seemingly delivers child actors fully formed from the womb. She is perfect. Not close, not 99%. Perfect. She has the advantage of age over her predecessor Kim Darby, she is a precocious talent that is brand spanking new...and hits the part right into the bleachers.

Which brings me to Matt Damon. Now, following Glenn Campbell - who could've spent a whole lustrum at RADA and still come away as wooden as a lineman for the county - is no problem. But Damon is superb as the self-regarding dandy La Boeuf; it's a while since I've seen him in anything which demanded the Hollywood star be subsumed by the character, and that he achieves here in spades. La Boeuf is not simply 'sidekick', he's a fully fleshed character; his scene where he says his farewells to Mattie is beautiful.

In more closely following Portis's novel, the paths of the Coens and Hathaway run parallel, then occasionally diverge. The big change comes with the denouement. Which I loved. I found it to be emotional and true. It's not in the least bleak or pessimistic IMHO, quite the opposite; Mattie is a great survivor, independent, intelligent, tough, resourceful. And ultimately, as befits the land and times she was born into, a woman of true grit.

BTW, I loved Carter Burwell's score, the bastard son of his work on Fargo and Ry Cooder's beautiful work on The Long Riders. With a huge dollop of Night of The Hunter thrown in just by dint of 'Leaning on the Everlasting Arms' (the night ride also echoes Laughton's masterpiece).

Right now the Coens' film stands right alongside Hathaway's. They co-exist, one failing to totally eclipse t'other. Which is just fine. Can't wait for the BD, can't wait to enjoy it - both - again.

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#11 of 12 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool



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Posted March 14 2011 - 06:08 AM

Loved this film (as a rare treat for me at the theater) and will be picking it up as soon as the BD arrives at a reasonable price.  Never saw the Wayne version -- nor read the book -- though I'm tempted to pick up that BD at a pretty nice price from the B&N site. Yeah, it's definitely not a typical Coen Brothers film, and yet, it still did feel a good bit like a Coen Brothers film to me in much of its sensibilities, etc, perhaps in a much more refined, disciplined way than usual -- maybe a good deal more like No Country for Old Man than most of their other films.  It certainly didn't feel like what I normally think of Westerns anyhow, and yet it all seemed very befitting... I saw it w/ a few buddies, instead of the other dreaded movie that also starred Bridges, and basically, 1/2 of us loved it and the other 1/2 didn't know what to make of it (and felt rather letdown).  I guess we all had certain expectations going in, especially for a Coen Brothers film, though none of us saw the Wayne version nor read the book AFAIK. Glad to see the BD will actually come w/ the DVD (as the DVD would make for a good loaner to friends and family)... _Man_

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#12 of 12 OFFLINE   Bryan Tuck

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Posted March 14 2011 - 08:27 AM

Originally Posted by TonyD 

Another boring cover.

It is a little generic, but at least it's a recreation of one of the actual one-sheets. The "Wanted Poster"-style one-sheet was a little more eye-catching, but I'm okay with this one.

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