Original version of ´True Grit' film shown at Stillwater Public Library March 19
(STILLWATER, OKLA. / March 10, 2015) ––The Stillwater Public Library will present a big screen viewing of the original “True Grit” film on Thursday, March 19, at 6 p.m. The movie, which is free and open to the public, is part of the library’s series “One Book, One Community: Stillwater Reads True Grit.” The 2010 remake of the film will be shown at the OSU Student Union on March 27 at 7 p.m..
The 1969 version of the film stars John Wayne, Kim Darby, and Glen Campbell and was directed by Henry Hathaway. Hathaway directed a substantial number of Westerns including “Rawhide,” “Shepherd of the Hills” and “North to Alaska.”
“We have correspondence from the author of ‘True Grit’ which suggests that Portis thought Hathaway was a tough director,” said Lynda Reynolds, Stillwater Public Library director. “Portis called Hathaway ‘a gruff old bird’ and stories about the film describe the run-ins Hathaway had with his actors.”
Darby, who played the 14 year-old Mattie Ross, was 21 years old and a new mother during the film. In an interview with Darby, the actress recalls Hathaway screaming at her during the first day of filming. The experience led Darby to demand that the director not yell at her for the remainder of the film.
Campbell experienced the same problems with Hathaway and ended up threatening to ride off on a horse back to his car to leave for Los Angeles.
Portis was also wary of some of Hathaway’s other directorial decisions.
“Portis explains that Hathaway had been rather taken with a particular stand of yellow aspens in the mountains near Montrose, Colorado,” said Reynolds. “The director was determined to film his next movie there, regardless of what the script called for. When Portis pointed out that there were no such settings in ‘True Grit,’ the director said he didn’t care---that Westerns were fairy tales that demand a majestic landscape.”
Hathaway did help John Wayne create the role that would bring the Western legend his only Oscar.
“Portis, who was on the set of the film for several days, was especially impressed with the famous actor,” said Reynolds. “Portis said that Wayne was even larger than he appeared on screen. Portis was also impressed with the actor’s kindness, having witnessed the actor give his undivided attention to an early morning, bumbling fan.
“A gentleman at four o’clock on a cold morning is indeed a gentleman,” Portis wrote in his correspondence.
More history and analysis of the film will be given by Dr. William M. Hagen, a retired English professor from Oklahoma Baptist University.
Hagen has recently retired after 38 years of teaching at OBU. He has served as a participating scholar for several Red Dirt Book Festivals held in Shawnee, OK, and served as a scholar in several Big Read programs. Most recently he has presented “True Grit” in several library programs and written an essay on the two filmed versions of the novel. Dr. Hagen regularly reviews fiction for World Literature Today.
An American Sign Language interpreter will be present at the film and many of the other events in the series. Popcorn and drinks will be served courtesy of The Friends of the Stillwater Public Library.
The “True Grit” film is rated G and is free and open to the public.
According to Reynolds, over 100 people have already signed up for a free copy of “True Grit,” but additional copies are available.
“We have just been given another 100 copies of the book from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries,” said Reynolds. “Just stop in the library and sign up for a book discussion to get your free copy.”
Upcoming programs include “Gun That Won the West,” a presentation on “True Grit” era firearms held at the Sheerar Museum on March 22 at 2:30 p.m. and “The Oklahoma Kid,” an after school program held at the library on March 23 at 4 p.m.
“One Book, One Community: Stillwater Reads True Grit” is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. For more info on the “True Grit” program, visit http://library.stillwater.org/TrueGrit.php.
The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.).