Fans of the original version of True Grit may be divided in their opinions about the remake, but we all have the Coen brothers to thank for Paramount rushing a Blu-ray edition of the original 1969 John Wayne movie to market.
The 42-year-old Western has never looked or sounded better. The colors are bright, the print is clean and, as is usually the case with Blu-ray films, a tremendous amount of detail and texture can be seen on the screen.
What’s more, all of the extras that came out in the 2007 “Special Collector’s Edition,” including documentaries and a voice-over commentary featuring Jeb Rosebrook, J. Stuart Rosebrook and our own Bob Boze Bell, remain part of the package.
Anyone who likes the new movie and hasn’t seen the original will probably be surprised by how good it is, and by the similarities between the two movies. In fact, they complement each other. The Wayne version offers up a considerable amount of extra material from Charles Portis’s novel. Early scenes of Mattie in Fort Smith, Arkansas—especially those featuring Cogburn in his funky room with his cat Gen. Sterling Price and his roommate Chen Lee—add great flavor and fun to the story as well as give the audience a more nuanced understanding of the characters. Seems to me, the new picture could have used a little more cat and a little less bear, considering.
The box office success of the Coen brothers’ film shows that while the great Western stagecoach may be making fewer stops and less frequent trips, it’s still rolling along.