The Grand and Glorious 'True Grit' Post

(I'm kinda/sorta plagiarizing this title from another blog, by the way.)

So.  Prepare thyself.  

I'm doing another one of those convoluted comparison posts (see previous ones here and here), this time about the Western True Grit.  I've now seen both the most recent movie adaptation (2010 with Jeff Bridges) and the original classic film (1969 with John Wayne), and I've read the book by Charles Portis.  Let the competition begin;)  

I watched the 2010 film version before I watched the 1969 or read the book, so my judgement and reasoning will probably clouded slightly by the fact that the 2010 was, for me, first come, first serve.

Reuben J. (Rooster) Cogburn

Jeff Bridges (2010, left) -- John Wayne (1969, right)

I think John Wayne immortalized Rooster for many people, so Jeff Bridges had a tough act to follow.  Personally, I think he followed it quite well.  

Of all the elements of the three different versions I'm discussing, the respective portrayals of Rooster were probably the things I liked most equally (if that makes any sense).  Both Wayne and Bridges were great in the role.  John Wayne brought out more toughness and sardonicism, in my opinion, while Jeff Bridges brought out more bumbling and vulnerability.  All those characteristics seem to be proponents of Rooster's character in the book, so I'd say that I like both interpretations almost equally, but with 2010 possibly edging out just the leetlest bit.  

Mr. LaBoeuf  

Matt Damon (2010, left) -- Glen Campbell (1969, right)

This one is a bit tough.  I like Matt Damon's portrayal better, but Glen Campbell's seemed almost more faithful to the book--which is a sad thing, if you think about it, because then one has to concede that book-LaBoeuf is sillier.  Ah, well.  I don't know.  It's not that I necessarily disliked Glen Campbell's version, but he was weirdly flirtatious and kept making moony eyes at Kim Darby's Mattie (Mattie reciprocated, though, so they're both penalized, hehe).  I can't quite decide if I ship LaBoeuf and Mattie or not.  I never really thought about it until my second or third viewing of the 2010 movie, and then I was confused.  'Cause, you see, there seems to be a slight--key word, slight--attraction between the two of them in the 2010, too, but it doesn't seem ridiculously sappy and irritating, which is more than I could say for the 1969.  But anyway.  Rambling now.

Mattie Ross

Hailee Steinfeld (2010, left) -- Kim Darby (1969, right)

*ahem*  Sooooo…

I like Hailee Steinfeld's portrayal better.  I'm sorry, people, but it's hardly a contest.  Kim Darby was just irritating as heck, and her hair bugged me to no end (I'm sorry, guys, but I don't think I've met a person who pulled of that hairstyle in an attractive way.  They may exist but I have yet to encounter them).  

*sigh*  Okay, okay, by the end Kim Darby had grown on me a little, but just a very little.  I think that overall, she was more whiny than book-Mattie is, BUT, unfortunately, that scene where she throws her temper tantrum over the possibility of Chaney hanging in Texas as opposed to Fort Smith and storms out of her confrontation with LaBoeuf and Rooster IS in the book (it's in the 2010 version, too, but it takes place under different circumstances, and Mattie does not stamp her foot and run out).  Which is a shame, because it seems so immature and, frankly, rather unChristian *prim voice*  I mean, there's nothing worse than revenge denied, right?  Yes, I said revenge.  I realize that Mattie's quest is a quest for justice, but…you have to admit, there is a fair sprinkling of revenge mixed in with it.  Of course, that is COMPLETELY understandably, but the fact remains.  And, ya know, revenge sort of runs contrary to God's Word…anywho.  Rambling again!  

Hailee Steinfeld, on the other hand, managed to be sweeter and more adult during the whole story, which is very nice.  

Lucky Ned Pepper

Barry Pepper (2010, left) -- Robert Duvall (1969, right)

WHY WAS ROBERT DUVALL NED PEPPER?!  The pain!  Of course, like most movie greats, he probably had to play the occasional "bad guy," but--but--but he's Hub!  And Print and…ah, well.  

Actually, as villains go, I suppose Ned Pepper is a fairly good one for Bobby (yes, I called him Bobby, don't judge) to portray.  At least there is a shred--the faintest shred--of decency in him.  "He don't kill people for no reason."  And he makes at least a halfhearted attempt to protect Mattie.  

Surprisingly, then, I think I actually prefer the 1969 on this one.

Tom Chaney

Josh Brolin (2010, left) -- Jeff Corey (1969, right)

Meh.  Whatever.  As I don't really care about this character, I don't really care which actor portrays him.  But I'll say Josh Brolin, I s'pose.  

Extra stuff

The MUSIC for the 2010, though!  OH. MY. WORD.  The main theme is "Leaning On the Everlasting Arms," and--squee!--I can actually play the beginning of the movie on the piano! :D

LaBoeuf actually dies in the 1969 movie, which isn't in the book, so that was a little sad, even though I wasn't all that emotionally invested in his character in the 1969.  

About the end:  in the book, it ends much as it does in the 2010 version, while in the 1969, it ends in a much happier way.  So...I'm torn.  I technically like the 1969 ending better, though.  

I think both movies were remarkably true to the book, but in different ways, for which I applaud the makers.  Overall, though,  I'd have to say I prefer the 2010 movie version, mostly because I prefer the cast, the music, and the way in which it was filmed to those of the 1969 (with the exception of John Wayne, Robert Duvall, and the ending).  

How about you all?


  1. I kind of just skimmed the post because (horror of horrors!) I haven't seen either of the movies or read the book yet. :( I really want to and I should I just haven't yet! Someday...

    1. Haha, that's okay, Lois! I'd love to hear your thoughts on it whenever you do get around to seeing/reading it, though:)

  2. Dig this! What a nice comparison post! Very interesting to see all the versions side by side, particularly because you have read the book and have that to compare them to as well. I have to admit, as much as I love John Wayne, this is one of my least favorite John Wayne westerns... mostly all because I cannot stand Kim Darby's Mattie. She has to be one of the most irritating characters of all time! LOL. (I liked the sequel movie, "Rooster Cogburn" much more, but even that one I'm not overly fond of.)

    I tried to watch the remake, but could not get into it at all, didn't like any of the characters, and gave up about a half hour in. Admittedly, I was on an airplane when I was watching it, not the most conducive viewing spot for any movie. I may try it again at some point, but as I'm not a fan of any of the actors in it, I'm not particularly motivated yet.

    1. Thanks, DKoren! I understand what you mean. I liked John Wayne in this, but I didn't really find it exceptional. And ugh, yes, Kim Darby's Mattie. Bothered me so much, she did.

      Ah, yes, I was sort of interested in Rooster Cogburn, because doesn't it have Katharine Hepburn in it? Hm. I shall have to see:)

      I get that, I guess it's not everyone's style of movie, the 2010. But...yes, you should try it again. 'Cause it's great:D

  3. I have yet to see the 1969, but I love the 2010. I think that I liked the fact the 2010 Rooster looked more hardened and weathered than John Wayne, like he had more experience. I don't know if that's just me.

    I was surprised to learn that Robert Duvall was Ned Pepper. I mean, like you said, he's Hub! He will forever be immortalized as Hub in my mind.

    1. Laura, isn't the 2010 great?! I love it so:) Yeah, it struck me when I was watching the 1969 for the first time, how young this Rooster was! I also find it interesting that both movies had the eyepatch on different eyes;)

      Right? I was a little surprised too. Hub is probably my favorite of his roles, just because I grew up on that movie and he's just so awesome in it:D

  4. The long-awaited comparison! (Haha, well, I'm probably the only one who was awaiting it. ;-P)

    The 2010 movie was my first encounter with the story as well, and I loved it so much I had to read the book. I actually haven't seen the 1969 movie, for two reasons: One, because I'm such a staunch fan of the 2010 movie and I don't really need anything else to muddy the pool, and two, because a friend told me that if you're not a big John Wayne fan you don't need to bother with the old one. I've heard it's kind of so-so. The only reason I'd want to watch it is for Robert Duvall. Actually, I think he'd make a really good Ned Pepper. ;-P But on the other hand, it doesn't seem to be very consistent with his other roles. To me, he'll always be Gus. :-) And Mr. Cox. And Hub. And Boo Radley....sheesh, the guy is just amazing. :-)

    Haha, all his actor friends call him Bobby, so I do too. :-)

    Hailee Steinfeld is GOLD as Mattie. I couldn't believe it when I found out she was actually fourteen when the movie was made. She's got that rare old-timey look and feel about her-- she really looks the period. She just IS Mattie. I saw her in The Homesman too, which she didn't have a very big part in, but she was awful cute. :-)

    Personally, I think everyone in the 2010 movie is spot-on with the book. They couldn't have done a better job. Granted, I did see the movie first, but still.

    The True Grit soundtrack is one of my favorites! I love how they used the old hymn, because it just breathes the period into the story and makes it all more authentic. And hey, I can play the opening on the piano too! I also learned how to pick out the ending. It's beautiful music.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your thoughts!!!


    1. Haha, yep, while making it I was sort of thinking, "Hmm...Emma's probably the only one who'll get excited about this...oh, and Hamlette and DKoren, I suppose." :)

      Yeah, I wasn't floored by the 1969. It was fine, but not...not really moving, like I think the 2010 is:D But maybe that's just because 2010 was first for me.

      Yes, Bobby did a great job as Ned. It was actually kind of fun, because I think that was the youngest I've seen him, except for, of course, TKAM. So it was fun to see him so close to "Boo." :D

      Yeah, I heard his costars on the Broken Trail special features calling him Bobby, and I was like, "YES!"

      I agree, Hailee Steinfeld was great! She seems so wise beyond her years, hehe.

      The soundtrack is becoming one of my favorites too! It's just sweeping and old-timely and Western and gorgeous! Oh my goodness, yes, I LOVE how they incorporate that old hymn. It makes me happy:) Yay! I love playing it:D

  5. I've seen the 1969 twice, and it was my intro to the story. I saw it as a teen, and again in my 20s, and when I heard they were making a new version, I was like, "Why? It's not that great a story." Now, you know that John Wayne is my #1 favorite actor evereverevereverever, but I just have a hard time liking his version of True Grit. However, I went to see the remake in the theater because I like to support new westerns, and also I had a friend who wanted to see it with me. And, well, Matt Damon. Matt Damon! As a cowboy! Had to see. I was surprised by how much I liked it! I haven't watched it again, but I got the book from the library and liked it a whole lot. Would like to read it again, and see the new version again because I did like it quite well.

    1. I know how you feel. It seems like I should like the 1969 more than I do, but I just...don't, hehe;) I know, wasn't Matt Damon great in the role? Yes, you should watch it again! I loves it:)

    2. I've never seen Matt Damon give less than an enjoyable, nuanced performance. He's a dependable favorite!

    3. Yep, he's great. I haven't seen all his movies, but the ones I have I've liked:)

    4. There are a few of his I refuse to see cuz he's made some really gross-looking comedies, but the ones I've seen have been awesome. Especially "Monuments Men" and his Jason Bourne trilogy.

    5. Yeah:-/ Ooh, yes, I really want to see Monuments Men. And the Bourne trilogy, 'cause, ya know, it's the Bourne trilogy, and I could hardly call myself a movie buff without watching it;) Have you seen 'We Bought a Zoo'?

    6. I haven't seen "We Bought a Zoo" yet, but I picked it up in the $5 bin the other day because I really want to see it, I love Matt and Scarlett, and people tell me good things about it.

      The Bourne trilogy is amazing. I love #1 best, but the other two are so good too.

    7. Oh, yay! WBaZ is fantastic. I think you'll like it. It's really moving:)

      Cooleo, I'll keep that in mind!

  6. I have never seen either of these films...nor have I ever heard of them!

  7. Great post Olivia! Overall I prefer the 2010 version, so I was very happy that the book was most similar to it. I think the '10 captures the themes and the feel and the style better. I definite prefer Hailee Steinfeld's Mattie too. She was amazing, and WAY better than the other girl! I also prefer Jeff Bridges slightly more. And I really, really liked Josh Brolin's Chaney! He was just like the book version. LaBoeuf I'm not sure. I think they both were great, but I haven't seen the '69 recently enough to remember well enough to compare them well enough. :P I did like the book LaBoeuf very much. And I "ship" him and Matte. Not that I wish they'd gotten together or anything, but I liked their relationship, and really liked how Mattie misses him and liked him even though he was such a dandy and she was so sensible. But anyway I liked the book LaBoeuf, and something seems off about Matt Damon's version from that. Still he is great, and I think it is the toughest call.

    1. Thanks, Sarah! Yep, I agree. The LaBoeuf one was tough for me. I like that Matt Damon's is a little more sensible, BUT his version is rather different from the book, so... I'm not sure:P


Post a Comment

Comments make my day. Seriously. I'd be so happy if you commented. :)

I've gotten really bad about replying in a timely manner, but it's always my intention to do so eventually. (Even though it doesn't always happen. ;))

Popular posts from this blog

My take on the Elsie Dinsmore series.

Romeo and Juliet (2013) {review}

Christian Purity: Things That (Apparently) Need to Be Said