True Grit (1969) Poster



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John Wayne was disappointed by the casting of Kim Darby as Mattie Ross, and the two hardly spoke at all off-camera.
John Wayne did not get along with Robert Duvall during filming, and at one point threatened to punch the young "Method" actor if he argued with the director again.
Henry Hathaway later said he hated Glen Campbell's performance, which he described as wooden, and claimed the singer was only cast so he could have a hit with the theme song which would help promote the film.
Despite its commercial success, John Wayne was not pleased with the finished film. He greatly disliked Kim Darby's performance, and while promoting the film for its U.S. release in June 1969 told interviewers that he had starred in much better films, citing Stagecoach (1939) as an example. At the Oscar ceremony on April 9, 1970, Wayne personally told Richard Burton that he felt he should have won the Oscar instead, for his portrayal of King Henry VIII in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969).
Stunt double Jim Burk performed the entire scene where Rooster Cogburn charged Ned Pepper's gang on horseback. John Wayne was only seen briefly in close-up, and he was riding on a trailer, not a horse.
John Wayne had initially promised the role of Mattie Ross to his daughter Aissa Wayne, but Director Henry Hathaway refused to cast her.
Director Henry Hathaway did not like Kim Darby and felt she was wrong for the role of Mattie Ross.
While most of the characters in the film are purely fictional, there is one character who is based on a real person. Judge Parker is based on the actual Judge Isaac Parker of the Western District, who held court in Fort Smith, Arkansas, during the period of the movie, and was known as a "hanging judge".
The only film for which John Wayne ever won an Oscar.
The character of Rooster Cogburn was supposed to be around forty. John Wayne was sixty-one when the film was made. Jeff Bridges was also sixty-one when he portrayed Rooster Cogburn in True Grit (2010).
Elvis Presley was considered for the role of La Boeuf, the Texas Ranger. However, "Colonel" Tom Parker, his manager, insisted that Presley should receive top billing. The part was given to Glen Campbell instead.
The film's release date of Wednesday, June 11, 1969, was ten years to the day before John Wayne died, Monday, June 11, 1979.
Film debut (uncredited) of Wilford Brimley.
Mia Farrow, among other well-known actresses, was approached to play Mattie, but she turned it down. Robert Mitchum, with whom she had just done a film, had told her that Henry Hathaway was cantankerous and impossible to work with. She lobbied to get Hathaway replaced by Roman Polanski, who had recently worked with her successfully in Rosemary's Baby (1968), but to no avail. She later said it was one of the biggest professional mistakes of her career.
John Wayne actively campaigned for the role of Rooster Cogburn after reading the novel.
The legendary Jay Silverheels of Lone Ranger and Tonto fame has a bit uncredited part as one of the "Condemned Man at Hanging".
The gang's cave hideout (beds partially intact), snake pit, and various prop rocks can still be seen on private property outside Ouray, Colorado.
Marguerite Roberts was a formerly blacklisted writer due to her left-wing politics. John Wayne, who had extremely right-wing politics, knew this before he read the script. He read it and liked it. He ignored people who said he shouldn't work on anything that a "blacklisted" writer wrote. According to Scott Eyman's biography of Wayne, Roberts was not herself blacklisted, but was married to the blacklisted John Sanford. Wayne wrote to her in 1969 calling her screenplay "magnificent" and hoping she might write another such screenplay with him in mind.
When accepting his Academy Award for his performance, John Wayne said, "Wow. If I'd have known that, I'd have put that patch on thirty-five years earlier."
Cogburn's eyepatch is worn over his left eye, the same eye over which John Wayne's long-time Director and great friend, to whom he referred publicly as "Admiral John Ford", wore his.
The character of Mattie was supposed to be fourteen. Kim Darby was twenty-one when the film was made in late 1968, and had already given birth to her first child.
John Wayne's last huge commercial success at the box-office. Big Jake (1971) is often cited as his last major hit, but it was actually far less successful than this film.
Sally Field was up for the part of Mattie Ross.
Rooster Cogburn wields a Winchester 1892 rifle with a looped lever and a Colt 1873 SAA revolver. Le Boeuf carries a Sharps single-shot rifle. Mattie uses a Colt Walker 1847 revolver. Chaney uses a Henry rifle.
Jim Burk doubled for John Wayne in the final jumping fence stunt at the end.
While John Wayne and Henry Hathaway didn't think much of Kim Darby's acting abilities, she had nothing but praise for Wayne: "He was wonderful to work with." However, she told Producer Hal B. Wallis that she never wanted to work with Hathaway again.
John Wayne's Best Actor Oscar win was widely seen as a sentimental choice, more in recognition of his forty-year career. His performance in this movie was dismissed by many critics as over-the-top, and hammy.
John Wayne did not originally want to wear an eyepatch.
Robert Duvall later complained about Henry Hathaway's directing style, saying that he would tell Glen Campbell: "When I say action, you tense up, God damn it!"
Chimney Peak is visible in the famous shoot-out scene at the end. It is part of the Cimarron Range outside Ridgway, Colorado.
When submitted for a rating from the MPAA in 1969, the film was given an "M". It was edited and re-rated "G".
"La Boeuf" means "the beef" in French. Interestingly the "La" makes his name feminine. In French, "Boeuf" is masculine ("Le").
In 1968, John Wayne was a judge on "Your All-American College Show", a syndicated talent show for young college students. Singer Karen Carpenter, along with her brother Richard Carpenter, who had not yet struck gold as the recording duo "The Carpenters", were competing on the show that week as "The Dick Carpenter Trio". Wayne was so impressed with Karen's effervescent personality, that he wanted her for the role of Mattie. However, according to Carpenter's family, the film's producers wanted to go with a name actress, and not a singer who, at the time, was virtually unknown.
Shot around Ridgway, Colorado, which is now home to the True Grit Café.
Tuesday Weld turned down the role of Mattie.
John Wayne had two competitors for the Oscar for Best Actor in 1970, Richard Burton, (whom Wayne felt deserved it, more than him) who was nominated for Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) portraying England's King Henry VIII, a role that had already won an Oscar for Charles Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933); and Peter O'Toole, nominated for Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), a role that had already won an Oscar for Robert Donat in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939).
During filming, Kim Darby was in the process of divorcing James Stacy.
Michele Carey, who co-starred with John Wayne in El Dorado (1967), was another actress that Wayne wanted for the role of Mattie. However, she was already under contract for another film.
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Rooster's given name is revealed to be "Reuben J. Cogburn".
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Producer Hal B. Wallis always wanted John Wayne to play Rooster Cogburn, but was considering either Robert Mitchum or Walter Matthau if Wayne didn't sign up.
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Ironically, the spot on the Fort Smith location set, where Mattie watches Cogburn park and unload prisoners, is the same spot where her father was killed by Tom Chaney.
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Glen Campbell later said, "I'd never acted in a movie before, and every time I see 'True Grit', I think my record's still clean!"
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Final film (uncredited) of Stuart Randall.
In True Grit: A Further Adventure (1978), Lawyer Daggett (John Fiedler) is mentioned several times by Mattie, but is never seen.
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When Paramount Pictures did a made-for-television sequel to this film, True Grit: A Further Adventure (1978), Rooster (played by Warren Oates) explains that he lost his eye fighting for the South in the civil war.
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Jeff Corey was fifty-five when he played Tom Chaney. In the novel, Chaney was only about twenty-five.
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Finnish censorship certificate #77983.
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The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The scene near the end, where Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) and Ned Pepper's gang meet in a field, and Pepper (Robert Duvall) was shot, was filmed in a clearing near the top of Owl Creek Pass outside Ridgway, Colorado. The field is off the road to the left, and is very easy to find.

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