Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Movie Remakes--More Thoughts

Several weeks ago, I wrote about being aggravated at the thought of the Coen brothers remaking a wonderful old movie. Many years ago, John Wayne starred in True Grit which became a classic. Maybe because it was one of Wayne's last movies and his thousands of fans wanted to hold on to it. Why mess with success? was my take on remaking the film.Leave my pleasant memories alone.

But this morning's newspaper had a review of the Coen's True Grit. They gave it four stars. Rarely does a film critic award four stars, so when I saw those four sharp-pointed symbols, I decided I'd better read the review.The headline on the review also drew me in. True Excellence was printed in very large and bold letters. I've written often enough about the importance of titles, and here was a perfect example. There was no way I could ignore it.

The original movie script was based on Charles Portis' novel of the same name, published in 1968. That's nearly 43 years ago. Wouldn't any novelist be pleased to have a story that was still in the public eye that far down the line?

The movie debuts at midnight tonight. Since there were no Christmas movies made for this holiday season of 2010 (most unusual), maybe you'd like to go see True Grit this week. If you do, while you watch the movie, think of the man who wrote the story so many years ago. It's his story you're watching, even if a different adaptation by the outstanding brother team of Ethan and Joel Coen.

If you'd like to read the sparkling review from the Kansas City Star, go to  http://www.kansascity.com/2010/12/20/2533429/true-grit-true-excellence-4-stars.html

I'm intrigued enough by the review that I am considering going to see the movie. I may have to retract all I said in that first posting about remakes of old films.


  1. I first read the story, True Grit, in the Saturday Evening Post, but I don't know if I will try to see this new re-make of the film. Having lived as a child in that part of the Ozarks, I was enthralled with the story. Was thrilled when I heard it would become a movie. Forced myself to overcome my disillusions with John Wayne, could hardly wait for the film, it would be a vicarious visit to the places of my childhood. But wait? True Grit takes place under towering, ice-capped mountains? I don't think so. If I am tempted to see this new version, I will want to know beforehand exactly where it was filmed.
    Peg Nichols

  2. People who make movies seem to take advantage of poetic license. Their bet is that few people would know the exact locations or whatever else they may choose to change. I've often seen a movie after loving a novel only to hardly recognize the story in the movie.

  3. My 25 year old niece went to see the new version. She liked it so much she wanted to buy another ticket and go right back in. She isn't easily impressed, so I think it must be a pretty good version.

  4. I'm getting close to going to see it myself.