True Grit

(2010)

Genres: Adventure, Drama, Western

Jeff Greenfield: Language and Film

Transcript for Jeff Greenfield: Language and Film

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
Before we say our final, long overdue goodbye to the Oscars, Jeff Greenfield wants to say hello to something that’s been missing in movies. Here’s Jeff. 

JEFF GREENFIELD:
No mater how you feel about the Oscar results, you have to be heartened by nomination for 3 motion pictures for the same specific reason. “The King’s Speech,” “The Social Network”, and “True Grit” all are films whose scripts celebrate and honor the use of a vibrant, English language.

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JEFF:
There are the rapid-fire exchanges of techno-geeks…

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JEFF:
.. the elegant duets between royalty and commoner…

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JEFF:
The odd yet oddly appropriate courtly formality of a gunfighter and a young girl…

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JEFF:
For me, these films harken back to a time when rich, pungent language was a critical element of the movies—especially the comedies.

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JEFF:
There were wise guys—and wise gals—swapping barbs and insults in films like “His Girl Friday” 

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JEFF:
There was Groucho’s machine-gun word play:

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JEFF:
There were the acerbic barbs of writer-director Preston Sturges—here, in Sulllivan’s travels, the director and a movie executive talk of a box-office bomb.

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JEFF:
Now, this kind of dialogue really doesn’t necessarily travel that well—to countries where English,so to speak is not the lingua franca. No, in the ever increasingly international market, what really works are movies with stuff like this.

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JEFF:
…movies where nothing needs to be translated. A recent trailer for “the Mechanic” is a perfect illustration:

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JEFF:
The only criticism that applies to this kind of movie comes right out of Second City TV:

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JEFF:
I don’t know if the trio of films constitutes a trend, but I hope so. And we have it on very good authority where language is really important. Doesn’t the Good Book say “in the beginning was the word”? It does. Word up.