This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
My Darling Clementine
She was everything the West was - young, fiery, exciting!
Wyatt Earp and his brothers Morgan and Virgil ride into Tombstone and leave brother James in charge of their cattle herd. On their return they find their cattle stolen and James dead. Wyatt takes on the job of town marshal, making his brothers deputies, and vows to stay in Tombstone until James' killers are found. He soon runs into the brooding, coughing, hard-drinking Doc Holliday as well as the sullen and vicious Clanton clan. Wyatt discovers the owner of a trinket stolen from James' dead body and the stage is set for the Earps' long-awaited revenge.
I've heard a lot about you, too, Doc. You left your mark around in Deadwood, Denver and places. In fact, a man could almost follow your trail goin' from graveyard to graveyard.
- Wyatt Earp
I remember a long time ago when pretty much the only way I'd be able to watch older films would be to hope that they'd show on TV. I'd check the listings in the TV guide a week in advance and then flick through the planner setting everything to record, I probably found at least two things a day that the internet deemed 'good'. The reason I mention this is because a lot of John Ford's classics would play during the weekdays alongside the other…
One day, there will be a depiction of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the stories of the Earps, the Clantons, and Doc Holliday that accurately captures not just the spirit of their now legendary lives but also the facts. This is not that film. Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance could be the thesis statement of his work here in My Darling Clementine, in which he depicts the legend that Hollywood birthed regarding Wyatt Earp. I am no expert--I have read a sparse few essays, stories, and critiques about Tombstone and other depictions, but never the direct sources--but I know that this seemingly pivotal moment in American history was nothing of the sort until it hit the big…
"You hadn't taken it into your head to deliver us from all evil?"
My Darling Clementine certainly fits into the western genre, but from the visuals alone you wouldn't be remiss to assume that it had more in common with film noir. The term wouldn't be created to retroactively describe a trend in American cinema for another two years, but the social and cultural anxieties that the new subgenre was rooted in were very much alive. The low-key lighting casts shadows that are deep and dark, and they pervade the frame and reflect the social angst of the time and the existentialism that resulted from World War II.
But the similarities go beyond simple imagery: the little town of Tombstone…
"To be, or not to be"
"You have no right to destroy yourself."
A perfect moment in art, Ford in high poetry; a pinnacle of the medium. Civilization at the gravest cost, melancholy that cannot be subdued, friendships of preciously short duration and profoundly real emotion.
More or less the fundamental Ford text, and as I argue here (as part of its Criterion debut), a cinematic representation containing the ethos of American poetry.
"Mac, you ever been in love?"
"Nope, I've been a bartender all my life."
"Ma'am, I sure like that name: Clementine."
It's not easy to watch this one with pure eyes. I saw Tombstone at least twice in the theater back in the 90's (at a time when I, as a college student, almost never went to the movies at all). I have seen it probably a dozen times since, so that version of the Wyatt Earp legend has been burned on my brain - especially Val Kilmer's Doc Holliday.
Ford's version is a lot more compact; as best I can tell, it only covers a few days' time. The Earp brothers come into town, tangle with the Clantons, befriend Doc, encounter Clementine, and shoot it out at the OK Corral. Then Wyatt rides…
Anything shot in Monument Valley is worth a watch. Solid western with my first exposure to Louisville-born Victor Mature. He and Henry Fonda provided strong charismatic lead roles.
Not only is this a great movie, it also has sick dance moves.
The most polite revenge film ever made. John Ford shot Stagecoach in a more grand fashion seven years earlier, and he shot The Searchers with the most grand fashion ever ten years later. So I don't know why this is staged so tepidly in 1946. The duel between Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday lasts all of fifteen seconds, captured in one master.
Henry Fonda definitely had a speech impediment of some kind, right??
Earp punches Doc out and instantly the piano man turns around pounds the keys for a joyous melody. This Ford western is funny that way. The connections between the 3 leads is what bind it together. They're well written and well directed so it's not surprising that this take on the OK Corral gels so easily.
It's about the relationships, not the violence (as is usually the case with Ford). These characters communicate on terms that we can sort of relate to, even if the details are different than our own.
"Mac, you ever been in love"?
"No, I've been a bartender all my life".
Some of my father's favorite dialogue of all time and now I'm in the know.…
I hadn't realized just how aimless this was on first pass – while many of Ford's films take time to examine dynamics, as opposed to constructed narrative beats, this still feels like his laziest film, but it is all the better for it. After the Earp clan arrives in Tombstone, they're set up for a rivalry with the Clanton's – whom we already suspect is behind their their brother's murder – but there is only one real confrontation before the final act. Instead, Ford elegantly humanizes his characters through crisscrossing interactions, a realistic touch in his mythic west.
While it is not as overtly challenging as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, My Darling Clementine fits in nicely with Ford's…
Watched with Daniel Kibbe and Gerardo Rivera
A perfect end to nearly eight hours of uninterrupted movies with friends.
(And it was like 10 hours for me because I was watching Fast Five before I picked up G.R.)
Ford shoots nights in the desert town of Tombstone in near perfect dark and with complete elegance. He centers the tale of the shoot-out at the OK Corral, a concept usually shot as ornamented and stylish as possible in films like Tombstone and Wyatt Earp, around four characters. They criss-cross each other for about an hour as we slowly learn more about their relationships with each other as well as how the overall dynamic works between them. They do this until the last twenty minutes when the climax literally rolls in on a stagecoach.
"What kind of a town is this!?" shouts Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda) as he enters Tombstone and has a shave interrupted by whizzing bullets from a nearby saloon.
It's an exuberant introduction that forms the ethos for John Ford's eloquent western and culminates with a killer shootout at the O.K. Corral.
One of the Earp brothers is murdered in a cattle raid and his siblings decide to become Tombstone lawmen. Instead of immediate vengeance, I liked how Wyatt's arc was more concerned with unspoken codes and how he's placed in Tombstone's community. He appears as a drifting wanderer and someone's who's motivations are clinical until the very end.
I didn't find My Darling Clementine to be Ford at his most…
A decent enough western. If you are a fan of John Ford then it is worth checking out. It is the type of film where its simplicity is its main positive. There is some beautiful scenery to behold too for those looking for a visual treat. It is also a good switch-up for those looking for a good classic western but are tired of seeing John Wayne on screen. I think this film does a pretty decent job at highlighting the lawlessness of the land that is often so necessary to portray if one wants to make a good western. If you are on a western kick then its worth checking out My Darling Clementine.
A list that, if nothing else, proves the day-to-day usefulness of applied statistics.
Between 2015 and 2016, a series of…
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…