Friday, February 18, 2011

True Grits

I saw the first version of True Grit in '68 or '69 with my family- we saw every John Wayne movie in the theatres and besides, my sister had a crush on Glen Campbell. It had a big impact on me. The language was archaic, the violence was particularly brutal (Kim Darby falls into a rattlesnake pit and Dennis Hopper gets his fingers chopped off!) and John Wayne plays a drunk with an eye-patch.

A year or so later I spent a school break shadowing my Mom at her job as a church secretary. To kill the time, I read my brother's paperback copy of True Grit by Charles Portis. I was stunned at how closely the movie had followed the book, even at that age I was aware of Hollywood's propensity for sloppy adaptations.

70 years later, I see the Coen Brothers version of True Grit, universally touted as being more faithful to the book than the Duke's version. I'll admit I was nervous about that news since in the film Kim Darby is fending off one rattlesnake in the pit she's fallen into, while the novels Mattie Ross deals with over 40! But, I thought hell, it's been 100 years or so, maybe I don't remember the book that well. Ironically, the Coen version is a negative image of the earlier version. While the Duke's version changed only the ending, the new version changed practically everything but the ending! At least we didn't have to sit through Glen Campbell's crappy acting again ( sorry Sis).

I loved it anyway, and it got me to read the Portis novel again. Lets see, what has this got to do with drawing ..... oh yeah, and it inspired me to draw a picture of the Duke fillin his hands!

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