So yeah. John Wayne, whose acting I typically find a bit tepid, was quite good in this movie. This movie with its gorgeous location shots. This movie with it’s frequently awkward editing choices. This movie with the weak-sauce supporting job by Glen Campbell.
The stand out for me in this movie, however, was the character of Mattie Ross. Mattie, played reasonably well by Kim Darby, is a strong female lead. I may have been more than a decade from nativity when this film released, but there’s still a relative dearth of wide-release movies* with female leads as competent and confident as Mattie. She’s portrayed as independent, intelligent, business-savvy, and capable of keeping up with grizzled veterans of the open range. Bold and fearless, she’s a teenager chasing down a killer without regard for her own life, but still looking out for her travel companions. I’m sure this was rare enough in ’69, but it’s a shame we don’t see more characters like hers in contemporary cinema without it being an underdressed pistol-weilding Angelina Jolie.
The movie, overall, was pretty entertaining. John Wayne’s dialog was fantastic. I really wish the directing and editing had been better executed, but it was still worth the watch.
* This inference based on the top 10 grossing films each year for the past five years.