Winston Churchill's the most terrific fella of our century. If I had to make a speech on the subject of Communism, I could think of nobody that had a better insight or that said things concerning the future that have proven out so well. Let me read to you from a book of his quotes. While [Franklin D. Roosevelt] was giving the world Communism, Churchill said, "I tell you--it's no use arguing with a Communist. It's no good trying to convert a Communist, or persuade him. You can only deal with them on the following basis... you can only do it by having superior force on your side on the matter in question--and they must also be convinced that you will use--you will not hesitate to use these forces if necessary, in the most ruthless manner. You have not only to convince the Soviet government that you have superior force--but that you are not restrained by any moral consideration if the case arose from using that force with complete material ruthlessness. And that is the greatest chance of peace, the surest road to peace. Churchill was unparalleled. Above all, he took a nearly beaten nation and kept their dignity for them.
But back to "True Grit". Henry Hathaway used the backgrounds in such a way that it became almost a fantasy. Remember that one scene, where old Rooster is facing those four men across the meadow, and he takes the reins in his teeth and charges? Fill your hands, you varmints! That's Henry at work. It's a real meadow, but it looks almost dreamlike. Henry made it a fantasy and yet he kept it an honest Western. You get something of that in the character of Rooster. Well, they say he's not like what I've done before, and I even say that, but he does have facets of the John Wayne character, huh? I think he does. Of course, they give me that John Wayne stuff so much, claim I always play the same role. Seems like nobody remembers how different the fellas were in "The Quiet Man". Or "Sands of Iwo Jima". Or "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", where I was 35 playing a man of 65. To stay a star, you have to bring along some of your own personality. Thousands of good actors can carry a scene, but a star has to carry the scene and still, without intruding, allow some of his character into it.
Sure it did--even if it took the industry 40 years to get around to it [awarding him an Oscar]. But I think both of my two previous Oscar nominations--for "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" and "Sands of Iwo Jima"--were worthy of the honor. I know the Marines and all the American armed forces were quite proud of my portrayal of Stryker, the Marine sergeant in "Iwo". At an American Legion convention in Florida, General Douglas MacArthur told me, "You represent the American serviceman better than the American serviceman himself." And, at 42, in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" I played the same character that I played in "True Grit" at 62. But I really didn't need an Oscar. I'm a box-office champion with a record they're going to have to run to catch. And they won't.
[on "True Grit"] And that ending. I liked that. You know, in the book Mattie loses her hand from the snakebite, and I die, and the last scene in the book has her looking at my grave. But the way Marguerite Roberts wrote the screenplay, she gave it an uplift. Mattie and Rooster both go to visit her family plot, after she gets cured of the snakebite. By now it's winter. And she offers to let Rooster be buried there some day, seeing as how he has no family of his own. Rooster's happy to accept, long as he doesn't have to take her up on it too quick. So then he gets on his horse and says, "Come and see a fat old man sometime". And then he spurs the horse and jumps a fence, just to show he still can.
To show you how and why I consider myself the luckiest guy that ever hit, I had hunches and I could guess good and one of them was the last time at bat. I'd hit two balls damn good that day and I thought they were going to go, but they didn't. So, here I am, the last time at bat. We're two runs behind, nobody on, I got the count one and nothing and now Jack Fisher's pitching. He laid a ball right there, I don't think I ever missed in my life like I missed that one, but I missed it. And for the first time in my life I said, 'Oh Jesus, what happened, why didn't I hit THAT one?' I couldn't believe it. It was straight, not the fastest pitch I'd ever seen, good stuff. I missed the swing and I thought…I didn't know what to think because I didn't know what I'd done on that swing. Was I ahead or was I behind, it wasn't a breaking ball and right in a spot that, boy what a ball to hit. I swung, had a hell of a swing, and I missed it. I'm still there trying to figure out what the hell happened. Then I could see Fisher out there with his glove up to get the ball back quickly, as much as saying 'I threw that one by him. I'll throw another one by him.' And I saw all that and I guess it woke me up, you know? Right away I assumed, 'He thinks he threw it by me. He thinks he threw it by me!' The way he was asking for the ball back quick, right away I said, 'I know he's going to go right back with that pitch.' And sure enough here it was. I hit that one just a little better then I'd hit the other two. And it got into the right-center field bleachers. There's the lucky part right there. He gave the pitch away practically, he gave it away. I assumed that just by his actions, and I was right, and I must have given it a little extra something because that one there did go.
I have to say this: how lucky I've been in life, I know how lucky I've been in life, more than anybody will ever know. I've lived a kind of precarious life style, precarious in sports, flying and baseball. And oh boy. I know how lucky I've been. The two things I'm proudest of in my life, is that I became a Marine pilot and that I became a member of the Baseball's Hall of Fame. I worked hard (at flying). I wasn't prepared to go into it. Then I had to work hard as hard as hell to try to keep going, to try and keep up. I did have reasonable flying abilities. I had cars and I had been running up and down the highways. I had done a lot of shooting. I think that's as great an accomplishment as anything I'd done in my life. The other thing, of course, is that I had a great baseball career.
But that first time Ruffing was sneaky fast. He threw with a little 'umph' and boy, there it was! If you didn't realize this guy could throw and do so with less motion and effort and excitement, then it was by you. My first key on him was that this guy is sneaky and he is faster than he looks. Now I've run into quite a few pitchers that I thought were faster than they looked. One was Billy Pierce, who was a little guy. (Dizzy) Trout was another. He was a big, strong guy, but didn't throw a lot of effort into it. But boy, he could throw the ball too.
The sisters are signed to play for the Rockford Peaches near Chicago, whose new manager (Tom Hanks) is a former home-run king who wrecked his career with alcoholism. They're all a bunch of underdogs, and Marshall (with a witty script by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel) does a fine job of establishing a colorful team of supporting players including Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell. It's a conventional Hollywood sports story (Marshall's never been one to take dramatic risks), but the stellar cast is delightful, and the movie's filled with memorable moments, witty dialogue, and agreeable sentiment. And just remember: there's no crying in baseball!