Release Year: 1975
Director: Stuart Millar
Writers: Martha Hyer – as Martin Julien (screenplay), Charles Portis (inspired by his character Rooster Cogburn from his 1968 novel True Grit)
Starring: John Wayne, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Zerbe, Richard Jordan, John McIntire, Paul Koslo, Jack Colvin, Jon Lormer, Richard Romancito, Strother Martin
Sunday Classic #284, week 48 2019
U.S. Marshall Rooster J. Cogburn (John Wayne) unwillingly teams up with the strongwilled missionary Eula Goonight (Katharine Hepburn) to track down the band of outlaws who killed her father.
Giving the success of True Grit (1969), which earned John Wayne is only Oscar, a sequel was perhaps inevitable. On top of that, Hepburn (The Lion in Winter, 1968) desired to work with Wayneand the film’s main objective is to give plenty of screen time together to two of the greatest Hollywood stars. It is well to keep this in mind while watching the film. The film in itself is a good enough Western adventure that echoes both The African Queen (seen Moviegeek Info below) and True Grit and thus isn’t a very original piece of work. Both Wayne and Hepburn were actors of great integrity and knew how to fill a screen with their presence, so there is plenty to enjoy in the scenes between them, although their many long conversations do slow down the pace of the film somewhat. Wayne’s Cogburn is a lovable character, despite or perhaps because of his character flaws, and Hepburn’s preachy missionary is outspoken, but the two form a strong bond as the film progresses. There are some good shootout scenes and nice scenery and fans of classic Westerns will find plenty here to enjoy. Recommended.
There was supposed to be a third film featuring the character Rooster Cogburn entitled Someday, but it was dropped. Rooster Cogburn turned out to be only a moderate hit at the bo office and John Wayne was reckoned to be too old to carry a film on his own. Furthermore, the popularity of the Western genre was fading fast.
The actor Jon Lormer, who plays Katharine Hepburn’s father in the film, was only a year older than her.
The film was released to negative reviews. Many reviewers felt it was an obvious rehash of The African Queen (1951) and that both Hepburn and Wayne were too old for their parts. This is obvious in the scene where they refer to Strother Martin’s character as ‘old man'; Strother Martin was in fact 12 years younger than both of them.
Picture Copyright: UIP