Jc's Reviews > True Grit

True Grit by Charles Portis
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's review
Aug 31, 2011

really liked it

I first read this in early 1970 – I put my signature and date in the front. At that time I was the same age as Mattie. I did not see the Wayne film until it came to television the next year. In 2011 I watched both the Coen Bros. 2010 version and John Wayne’s 1969 original, then I re-read the 1968 book (my yellowed, well-aged 1968 paperback edition). It was fun seeing how both films played with the book – both tried hard to follow the story closely. It makes a great study in film to see how two different director/producer/actor teams portrayed the same story. Both managed to capture the humor and the threat of the story. I don’t know which of the three I recommend more. The Coen Bros. may be the most accurate, but partially that is due to two factors: advances in film technique since 1969 and the tendency for Wayne to dominate the screen (not a criticism, Wayne does a great job). But the first film really does, in its own way, give a strong interpretation of the novel. Portis’ original, however, stands on its own. The humor of the 14 year old precocious little snot of a girl bossing two grown gunmen around in order to seek vengeance really comes out in his writing. So, I say see both films (in which ever order), then read the book to see what “really” happened.

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