Saturday, January 1, 2011

Rooster Cogburn (1975)

Cinema Sweetheart's Rating: 10 out of 10
Director: Stuart Millar
Starring: John Wayne, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Zerbe
Rated: PG
Genre: Western, Action, Drama, Comedy
Runtime: 108 minutes
Prequal: True Grit (1969)

John Wayne stars once again as one of his most memorable characters: the drunken, smart-mouthed, one-eyed marshal Rooster Cogburn.  When outlaws ransack a small mission set up in the Indian territory, killing the minster Rev. Goodnight, his daughter Eula (Hepburn), the mission's teacher accompanies Rooster Cogburn to track them down.  The marshal, however, is reluctant to be tailed by a quick-witted preacher woman and her Indian friend Wolf (Richard Romancito)  To make matters worse, if Rooster does not bring the criminals--who not only killed Eula's father, but also stole a shipment of nitroglycerin-- back alive, he'll lose his job.

I think what I liked best about this movie was how much it had to provide.  Besides having a wonderful trio of heroes in Cogburn, Eula Goodnight, and Wolf, there was a great set of horrible villains.  Richard Jordan plays Hawk, the leader of the outlaws; a ruthless, cruel man who will do anything he has to in order to get the payoff.  Jordan's performance was deliciously vile.  His Hawk was both hated and feared; this is not some push-over baddie.  Anthony Zerbe also played an amazing character as Hawk's man Breed.  Zerbe brings another level of danger to the plot; because he once rode with Cogburn, he understands him better than any of the others in Hawk's employment.

The scenery was breathtakingly beautiful.  The water, crystal clear; the mountains, majestic; the trees and cliffs, rugged but awe-inspiring.  It makes you wish that you were there with them; riding horseback across the fields and through the woods.

Even though I loved the scenery and the characters, I think my favorite part had to be the wonderful chemistry between John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn.  The plot combines two rough and stubborn characters, and despite their hard-headed nature, it soon becomes apparent that Rooster has a little thing for Ms. Goodnight, and she likes him as well.  It was a wonderful little romance; not too overpowering, and a perfect supplement to the rest of the film.  Apparently even someone as mean as old Rooster Cogburn has a soft spot in his heart.

If you enjoyed  True Grit, either the original or the recent remake, then you need to see this movie.  Granted, John Wayne's Cogburn is a bit gentler than Jeff Bridges's, but that doesn't mean he's any less of a fighter.  And he's an amazing actor at that!


  1. As part of my Christmas morning, this movie found its way into my stocking. I'm looking forward to viewing it - even more so after reading your review.

  2. NecroDancer,

    Hope you enjoy; its a wonderful film! (Tell me what you think when you're done?) ;)


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