Monday, August 10, 2009

The Caine Mutiny

In my effort to make up for the deficiencies in my knowledge of old pictures, this past weekend I watched The Caine Mutiny and True Grit.
1) Re: The Caine Mutiny: did you know that the actor Michael Caine chose his last name while in a pay phone talking to his agent. He looked up the street and saw a marquee with "The Caine Mutiny" on it. He later said that if he had looked in the other direction, he would have been known at "Michael One Hundred and One Dalmations."

Still, I don't think this was that good of a movie. Worst of all, I think Humphrey Bogart was the weak link.

2) True Grit: this was a great movie, and mostly not because of John Wayne, but because of Kim Darby, the 22-year old who played Mattie Ross. She's the one who shows "true grit" in the movie -- she doesn't back down from anything. Anything.

In the special features an older Kim Darby talks about her role as Mattie Ross, and quietly says, "I think what makes people really strong is that they try."

The one best John Wayne scene, maybe of all time, is when he's facing off with Ned Pepper (Robert Duvall) and his gang, and Pepper calls him an old fat man, and Wayne says, "Fill your hands, you son of a bitch" and charges at all four of them.

And, of course, kills them all, and even his horse gets killed.

What's weird is that the more John Wayne films I see, the more I think my grandfather was influenced by him. It's just subtle things -- the way he put on his coat and hat, the way he puffed when he was tired, the way he never complained about anything.

Man, I really loved my grandfather. He used to have us (his grandchildren) pick up concrete parking lot barriers, put them in the back of his truck, and set them down into the parking lot of his tavern. When a plane crashed up on in the mountains near where we lived, in a bad summer storm, with four passengers aboard, and they finally found it after four days of looking, he gathered up us grandkids in the back of his pickup and drove us up to see it. We tromped down through the woods about a quarter of a mile and came across the wreckage. The state police had removed the big stuff, but there was still a lot of material strewn everywhere and the whole place smelled horrible, like rotten meat. I especially remember there was a seat hanging up in a tree, and a bra in the branches. A bra! We kids rooted around down on the ground and found a piece of scalp with hair stuck on it, and something that looked just like a knawed-on chicken wing.

They never let kids near this kind of stuff anymore, which personally I think is a big mistake. You need to see these things -- dead bodies and murders and decapitations and such -- at least once. I am glad to have grown up when and where I did. (It doesn't even come up when you look for it on Google Maps.)

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