Monday, February 1, 2010

True Grit

Inspired by the fact that the Coen Brothers will be remaking this fascinating tale of a girl in the hard scrabble American West, we saddled up on the couch and watched one of John Wayne's last rides. He was old, and fat, and magnificent. He finally won an Oscar here. It is hard for a 21st century kid to understand the kind of masculinity that John Wayne represents, especially in this film. He is honorable, but a hard drinker. Kids get the part about taking the law into his own hands, but by Schwartznegger standards, John Wayne is not exactly an attractive hero. We found it surprising that the envelope rated this classic as a G rated movie. I had a snuggly 4 year old in my arms, and I covered her eyes when the bad guys got killed. Luckily she was asleep by the time the rattlesnake appeared--this film is NOT for younger and more sensitive viewers, although it is a wonderful film. It was good to see a Western that focuses on a strong female character. In retrospect, what an interesting film for a 1969 audience.

Also encountered this weekend, Betty Davis, by accident. We came upon Now Voyager while channel surfing and unfortunately had to head out to dinner before the end, so now we will have to rent it to find out how it finished! The thing we most noticed was the harshness and unlikeability of the character, Charlotte. She was glamorous and tragic. And my girls noticed: Complicated. NOT a Disney female. Not made for TV. I am thinking we will have to have a night that is dedicated to those Betty Davis Eyes.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely, watch some more Bette. I recommend "The Petrified Forest" (Bogie's big break!) and "The Man Who Came to Dinner."

    More great 30s actresses: Irene Dunne; Barbara Stanwyck ("The Lady Eve" is a gem!); Jean Arthur; Myrna Loy (the Thin Man movies, of course, but also "Test Pilot" with Clark Gable); Claudette Colbert and Rosalind Russell (who can forget "His Girl Friday"?)

    I love showing my kids old movies. Don't forget the great silents - Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd (oh, and Chaplin, of course).