The Controversy of True Grit

A one-eyed fat man with a long scraggly beard is the main character in the remake of True Grit; however, he is not an accurate duplication of the original character. The main problem of movie remakes is changes occurring throughout the production. A remake of a movie that has major differences is as good as a plastic mirror. The controversial remake of True Grit butchers the characters, alters the scenery, and adds some action.

Many people would argue that John Wayne is the one and only Rooster Cogburn and that Jeff Bridges could not come close to the bar that Wayne had set. The producer and caster of the remake must have believed that Bridges was a good enough actor to follow Wayne; however, the director either intentionally or accidentally made a few physical character flaws. In the original True Grit John Wayne was a fairly clean-shaven man who wore an eye patch over his left eye. In the remake, Rooster is quite different. He wears a long, messy beard and has an eye patch over his RIGHT eye. I can’t believe that the whole production cast didn’t realize that the patch was over the wrong eye. This makes me ponder whether they simply did not realize it, they got it from the book, or if Bridges could just see better with his left eye. Such simple changes make the viewer wonder why these changes were made. Not only the characters were the changes with the remake, some scenes were quite different as well.

Between the two movies many changes were made in good hopes of enhancing the movie. Major changes in the movie include snow, and a couple of Indian scenes. Throughout the entire remake there was snow on the ground, and on occasion it was snowing. In the original there was absolutely no snow at all until the very end of the movie. Near the beginning of the remake Rooster and Mattie, the young girl accompanying Rooster, ran into an Indian man hanging from a tree. They cut him down and later passed him off to a man collecting items to take back to his camp. In the original this scene was completely missing. This brings up thoughts of where they got this scene from. My ideas are that they got it from the book or they added it in the screenplay. Scenery and character changes add together to contribute to changes in action.

This remake had additional action and conflicts put into it that adds some character to the movie. Throughout the scenes the Texas Ranger, LeBeauf, leaves Rooster and Mattie on and off as he gets into arguments with Rooster. In the original movie, LaBeauf stuck with them the whole time. Why the new director did this was weird. He must have believed that this conflict added to the suspense in the movie. With this addition, the new movie also changed its ending severely. Spoiler Alert! At the end of the original True Grit LaBeauf, played by Glen Campbell, dies after helping Rooster and Mattie up from the snake pit. In the new version LaBeauf helps them up then survives through the rest of the movie, and even after. Another change in the end happens with Mattie. In the original she gets bitten by the rattlesnake, Rooster transports her to a doctor, and then she lives a fine life. In the new version, after the rattlesnake encounter she gets transported to a doctor then after a treatment she had to lose her arm. When we learned that we were also told that she lives the rest of her life as well as dies a widow. It is very strange that in this new movie we learn so much more about this young girl’s future.

All of these changes and additions to the movie must have enhanced it. With logic we can assume that it did make the movie better because it got ten Academy Award nominations. The original True Grit, for its time, also got many nominations and awards. Two great versions of a magnificent story line are now compared: “They say you’re a man with true grit.” It’s all up to you to decide which one is better.





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Aragorn115 said...
Mar. 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm
Very simple explanation: New version straight from the book, not a remake of the original one. The Coens Bros. said that many times...
 
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